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Apathy, Honkey Kong

Connecticut rapper Apathy is an underground mainstay, from founding backpacker-favorite supergroup Demigodz to his work in Army of Pharaohs and Get Busy Committee. With his third album, Honkey Kong, Ap delivers another classicist East Coast record that takes advantage of his flair for Big L-style wordplay.

“Never Say Never” is a fun throwback to ’90s dancehall-rap fusion with invigorated verses from Mad Lion and Smif-N-Wessun’s General Steele. Apathy’s lyrical wizardry and adherence to true school principles grate at times, but his humour and self-awareness keep the record going. “Check To Check” is a funny, relatable take on the broke-rapper trope as Ap semi-brags, “I radiate being broke, you almost see me glow/I’m the Incredible Hulk of blowing money, fa sho”.

The production line-up is impressive, with beats from Statik Selektah, DJ Muggs, Evidence, and Apathy himself. Sadly, the DJ Premier produced “Stop What Ya Doin” is underwhelming, a rock-infused production that deviates from Prem’s normal golden touch—though Celph Titled kicks an enjoyably goofy verse. Honkey Kong’s standout songs come when Ap touches on topics beyond his verbal superiority: “Peace Connecticut” pays affectionate tribute to Ap’s home state over a mellow Beatminerz concoction, complete with a perfect Raekwon sample. “1.52 AM” showcases Ap’s storytelling ability as he narrates a break-in from three perspectives. Despite a few redundant tracks and a lack of cohesion, Honkey Kong paints a good picture of the impressive output Apathy is capable of in 2011. —Aaron Matthews

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