At the other end of the hip hop spectrum we find Chris “C Money” Burns, the mad genius producer and multi instrumentalist. On Friends With Money, Burns is joined by a baker’s dozen of underground rappers and guest vocalists to create a dizzying assortment of dense, trippy tracks.
Burns has been on the block about a decade more than Spose and Groves, as have most of his guests. This is a markedly mature and exceptionally sophisticated record, musically and lyrically.
On the opener, “Hook, Line and Singer,” Daddy Wrall (of Miss Fairchild fame) sings about being unable to come up with a good hook while delivering one aboard the Mothership of spacey funk Burns has built. The next track, “Fictions,” features flawless flow by Nomar Slevik and a great growling hook courtesy of Ease August. Rap duo Argyle Gargoylez weave crazy lines across “The Drizzle” while Burns takes Dr. Dre’s ride for a spin around the galaxy.
The ever-reliable Brzowski delivers another intense and insistent rap treatise (“Dogfish”) over one of Burns’ spookier beats. But the real Halloween treat here is “Eyes,” a hip hop house of horrors featuring Myn Dwun and Wormhole. Think you’ve never been scared by a rap song? Listen to this one through the ’phones and then think again.
Burns covers an impressive range of styles and sounds: funny, scary, freaky, chill. He sprinkles instrumental tracks here and there, like the funk number “Get Up, Stay Up.” But Friends With Money ends on a soft note. The atmospheric “Cosmic Heritage Series” gives way to the beautiful closer, “International Colouring Contest,” with the angelic voice of Sydney Bourke (Marie Stella, Satellite Lot) sending you off into the electro-pop ether.
Friends With Money is a fantastic voyage you’ll want to take again and again.
— Chris Busby
See Milled Pavement’s Web site (milledpavement.com) for more on Burns.