New Rap Olympiad: HUEY, The Cosmonaut. steps out on When The Rain Pour, When The Sun Shine
The music coming out of the creative circles of West Philly’s Bad Apple Commune has impressed us tremendously over the past year, and one of the group’s affiliates — multifaceted vocalist HUEY, The Cosmonaut. — released their first feature-length project a few weeks back.
Constructed with a range of collaborators, with producer enoch overseeing the project, When The Rain Pour, When The Sun Shine is a mix of heady beats, cosmic sonic flourishes, and cerebral raps that feature personal introspection as much as acute socially-conscious observations; the first two minutes alone feature a call for reparations, a nod to Malcolm X, and a critique of toxic social media. From there, the project is packed with minute- to two-minute tracks that are equal parts existential, philosophical, and radical.
Close listens will bring lyrical Easter Eggs to the surface — like the “bumpin’ that new Highnoon” line in “early morning sun,” a nod to one of the Commune’s leading lights — and more direct songs become more profound with each listen — built around beautiful soul samples, “always in my reach” finds HUEY trying to make sense of the confusion of every day life.
“Lessons for the End Times” finds another Bad Apple affiliate, Savan De Paul, joining up with HUEY and Black Costanza for bars about gearing up to fight racist ideologies: “Rhymes about existence, resistance, and persistence, with my ancestors’ insistence, I know I’ll go the distance.” The closing “manifesto” is a similar cry in the face of generational trauma and oppression.
In notes on the album’s Bandcamp page, HUEY provides background on When The Rain Pour, noting how projects don’t always turn out the way they’re envisioned.
i am very unsure about who i am as a rapper. but i believe in possibility for abolition and black liberation in my heart. that seems to be the theme that runs through this project alongside my love for my hometown, comrades, friends, family, community and significant other. i want this album to fill you with some degree of hope for a better future. i am very inspired by the resistance of people on the plantation and in the prison. as long as the folks inside have hope, we cannot be nihilists. music fills me with a lil bit of hope and joy to continue onwards towards a future free of prisons, police and borders. i hope it does for you.
Also notable is the way When The Rain Pour is one of the first releases I’ve seen in a long time — possibly ever? — to come with a recommended reading list, including Black Marxism by Cedric Robinson and The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition by Manisha Sinha. Explore that, along with HUEY the Cosmonaut.’s other inspirations over at Bandcamp, and take a listen below.