By Cole Parker
Signor Benedick the Moor has always been defined by an unwillingness to be defined. In the broadest of terms he’s an experimental rapper, producer and multi-instrumentalist, but even that feels reductionist.
In past releases, he’s danced from orchestral compositions, to acoustic guitar arrangements, to ‘80s new wave, and even to more traditional sample-based hip-hop production on tracks that run for as long as twelve minutes.
Toybox is an extremely apt name for his new project. It’s varied, inventive and filled with child-like enthusiasm. A new sonic palette is Signor Benedick’s newest toy. It’s a pop-rap album, but one you’d never dare call poppy.
Opening track and highlight “Pillows,” would be the closest thing to a traditional pop song. It has a triumphant baseball-themed chorus and auto-tuned sing-rapped verses, but also abrasive breakcore-adjacent bridges.
“Srsly” is backed by an 808 and Heartbreaks-style solo bass beat while Signor Benedick does his best Lil Yachty impression. “Home @ Nite” and “W/O U” have very strong pop punk influences, with Signor Benedick approximating the vocal styles of the genre. “Scratchnsniff” sees him adopting every single Lil Uzi Vert ad-lib he’s ever mumbled and a hook that is literally a video game cheat code.
The entirety of the album’s vibrant vibe is contrasted harshly by the angst of its lyricism.
Toybox sounds like what Uzi might sound like if he committed to the nerd-emo aesthetic in his music like he does in his off-record persona and then dialed up the experimentation to 11.
And in 22 minutes, it works.Deathbomb Arc, Record Review, Signor Benedick the Moor, Toybox