Serengeti and Polyphonic
Both from Chicago, rapper Serengeti and DJ Polyphonic invest their second full length recorded collaboration with a plethora of stylistic approaches. Hip hop, electronica, and elements of world music create a hybridized music, melding in varied, often stirring ways.
For example, on “Bon Voyage” there is a triangulated give and take between synthetic elements, a beat template imbued with pitched percussion and interlocking rhythmic figures, and Serengeti’s urban poetics. “My Negativity” matches downtempo electronica with echoing repetitions of the title lyric. “Cleveland” allows Polyphonic to take the lead, creating an evocative synth suite on which Seregeti’s vocals take on a more ornamental role.
The duo doesn’t eschew accessibility – “La Lala” features winsome keyboard riffs and an appealing mixture of sung vocals and clipped rapping. But often, the choices of instrumentation underscore the lyrics’ visceral worldview. For instance, reptilian squawks and an ominous backbeat give “My Patriotism” an appropriately confrontational ambience. Meanwhile, “Playing in Subway Stations” uses a swath of layered rhythms to create an apt sonic approximation of commuters’ hurly burly. Far from prehistoric, Terradactyl is positively cutting edge music-making.