Truly, this is the experimental hip-hop album that all fourteen-year-old wannabe poets wish they had made.
Illegal Art, 2012
3.8 / 10.0
There is no such thing as a middle-of-the-road experimental hip-hop album—it is either a magnificent success or a clunky failure, though articulating either sentiment can be difficult. Some of the most heralded experimental hip-hop albums are not welcoming to the untrained ear, while the worst examples of the genre are talked down for being impenetrable or self-serving. Fortunately, The Wind That Blows the Dandelion’s Seeds’s failure is easy to diagnose even for folks who otherwise know nothing of the genre.
The killing blow here is Yea Big’s basic approach and vocals. He raps as though he is trying to channel Immortal Technique as done by Sole, spouting off anti-capitalist slogans and expressions of individuality with all the grace of Honey Boo Boo attempting to perform Swan Lake, and unless any expression of revolutionary rhetoric (regardless of how vague or inelegant it might be) makes you salivate, none of this will connect with you.
From “Coup After Coup”: “I came of age during a plague of Reagan, Bush, and Clinton/Watching the world get raped by capitalism”. No, you’re not missing anything—it’s really that bad. From closer “My Message Is Simple”: “What I have to say is simple/My message ain’t subliminal/I tell you straight to your face/Every president’s a war criminal/What I have to say is simple/My message ain’t subliminal/In fact, this entire record can be summed up in one line/You don’t have to fuck people over to survive”. By the way, that’s not an excerpt—those are the entire lyrics to that song. Most of the rest of this material is similarly repetitive and shallow, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t disagree with everything said on this album.
What makes The Wind That Blows the Dandelion’s Seeds particularly painful to listen to is that it isn’t hard to imagine that this album could have been great, or even excellent. The backing beats are composed not unlike something from an electronic jazz album, and there’s enough experimentation and variation to barely keep this project above water. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that had this project focused entirely on exploring this sound, Yea Big could have ended up with something comparable to Bricolage. With twelve songs that clock in at twenty-eight minutes, though, the production isn’t given nearly enough time to shine and serves only as a backdrop for Yea Big’s pedantic rants. I understand what Yea Big was going for on this album, but there are too many examples of well-done alternative hip-hop for you to spend your time with this mess.