The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales, the 9 track special by classically trained pianist and rapper Chilly Gonzales, is intertwined intelligently with the Gonzo’s clever raps and impressive solos where he grinds away on the piano. Most well-known as a producer and collaborating with such artists as Peach, Jamie Lidell and Feist, this time heʻs chosen to take hold of the spotlight. And here, he lays down the most entertaining, and at times, comical tracks that shine a light on the narrative stories etched in his notebook. The end result will leave you shaking with anticipation of whatʻs to come.
The record is being hailed as the world’s first all-orchestral rap album. Having an orchestral style is one of the most amazing draws of the album. When listening to it in its entirety, listeners can picture themselves at Carnegie Hall attending a delicate recital, which is pleasing to classical music enthusiasts; however, instead of a sharply dressed man with slick gelled hair, there is a man named Chilly. He is presumably dressed in the usual hip hop attire, possibly even with a gold chain to boot. The record is nevertheless rewarding and vastly different from other mainstream rap albums. Gonzales, aka Jason Beck, worked with his brother Christophe Beck, who is a Hollywood film composer, for much of the arrangements.
Gonzales starts things off with a thunder in “Supervillain Music,” a blaring introduction that feels like heading straight to the guillotine, the drum line playing away. It’s a dynamite opener with the orchestra in the background taking full swing. “Self Portrait” and “Rap Race” play off each other well. They set the platform for Gonzales to make his case as a new rapper, striving to improve himself but still editing. In “Self Portrait”, he describes this by saying:
The closer I get to closure, I realize writing this is sheer torture. Today itʻs a real scorcher. I think Iʻm gonna set fire to my own self portrait.
He follows in the footsteps of Eminem and other artists before, emphasizing the challenges and decisions to where he has gotten today. In “Rap Race,” he ponders the various stereotypes of rap:
The question is why rap / Is it white rap or is it light black? / Is it baggy jeans or tight slacks / And if I pick a fight will you fight back…Great minds of this life time, I believe the next Einstein will write rhymes.
He gets explicit yet remains brutally honest in “Different Kind of Prostitute,” which is a haunting single with ominous string arrangements mastering a creep factor. In the track “Beans,” he is accompanied by a beautiful chorus. He laments sarcastically of his hobby of all the “beans” he is making and collecting under his moniker.
For when the beans talk, I hear the echo, speaking to me in the voice of Gordon Gekko.
What starts out to be an inspiring flare, of course then dives into the comedy:
I stack beans into a mountain / Iʻm busy now, Iʻm still an accountant / Which is illegal sizzle, make it drizzle / And my initials, monogrammed on my weed bag, it’s official.
He even points out that it takes a lot of beans to make chili. Absurd, yes, but it must be known.
This is Gonzalesʻs latest record fresh off the heels of Ivory Tower. Ivory Tower acted as a soundtrack for the Canadian film of the same name, which he co-writes and stars in. There, the album was lighter and a bit jazzy. Here, he is the maestro and is accompanied to perfection with a chamber orchestra in tow, complementing each other well, assisting in revealing the enticing mind of Chilly Gonzales.
The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales will be available June 7th via Arts & Crafts.
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