By Graeme Wiggins
VANCOUVER – It’s been 5 years since the release of Stefon Alexander’s last album as P.O.S, We Don’t Even Live Here, and three and a half years from his kidney surgery. With the music industry moving at an increasingly rapid rate, and the American political situation being what it is, one might expect a strong civic statement album from the Minneapolis native on his latest album, Chill, Dummy. “Half Cocked Concepts” from 2006’s Audition started out with the line, “First of all, fuck Bush!” Chill, Dummy doesn’t really go there.
It starts off with his trademark thundering beats on opener “Born a Snake,” and the album retains his aggressive sound. The politics are still there, but the album focuses more on his inward struggles, reconnecting to his art after time away.
“Even if I wanted to try to get make an album to get my name back out there, I don’t think I could,” Alexander explains. “I write whatever comes out. I had a few ideas of what I wanted this album to be and a few ideas of what I wanted to do, and my emotions and intentions of what I wanted to do got put aside by what came out. You’ll notice it’s less political of a record, more inward talking to myself. The damages and issues that came from taking so much time off for my health. Reconnecting with myself and my friends.”
Chill, Dummy was being wrapped up with more than enough time to make it understandable for him to write about political issues, but clearly his muse had other ideas. “Even if I wanted to write politics, anti-Trump, Republican, alt-right Nazi-based shit which would have been appropriate towards the end of the writing of this record,” ponders Alexander. “It just wasn’t what this record was about.”
Instead, we have an album that balances the political and the personal in a more organic way. It’s only fitting that one of the features on Chill, Dummy is rapper Open Mike Eagle, whose work maintains this balance as well. “Mike Eagle is one of my favourite rappers and favourite people I’ve met this music business. Genuine dude. Really solid lyricist in personal shit and political shit,” Alexander admires. “Both of us do ride a line where we’re not overtly political, but so much of our personality comes out in our music that you’re going to catch the parts of our personality that are political, what we’re about as people just based on getting us to talk freely as people.”
Album highlight, closer “Sleepdrone/Superposition” is a perfect example, name checking Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Chris Dorner yet dealing with more personal issues through the metaphor of the concept of superposition in physics. The track features a number of guests, but most fitting perhaps is that of Kathleen Hanna, former singer for Le Tigre and Bikini Kill, also an artist who has dealt with significant health problems in the past.
The whole album that hits that balance, and while it’s slightly more philosophical than he’s been in the past, the album still knocks hard. He’s back to 100% healthy now, so when he comes through live, you can expect him to deliver a show that’s anything but chill, and you’d be a dummy not to go.
Catch P.O.S live October 13 at the Fortune Sound Club. and his new album, Chill, Dummy, is out now on Doomtree records.Doomtree, hip hop, Indie Rap, Minneapolis, P.O.S, Rap, Underground Hip-Hop