If a band such as The Roots prove hip-hoppers can play their instruments just like their funk forbears, then Anticon Gigasingle
demonstrates that indie-rappers can sound every bit as studiously sloppy as their guitar-strangling collegiate peers. In fact, this Oakland-based collective's second album even sounds like alt-rock a lot of the time. Anticon's "We Ain't Fessin'," a gang's-all-here opening number, loops a guitar-bass-drums breakdown more Archers of Loaf than Archie Bell and the Drells. Why's "Hahaha" climaxes with cut-up soundbites closer to Elephant 6-style studio manipulation than Jurassic 5-esque turntablism. Controller 7's "Heckles from the Peanut Gallery" isn't an instrumental and its only tangential connection to hip-hop is that it's on this compilation. As you might guess, this method leaves plenty of room for solipsism -- grimy post-Company Flow beats can become as tired as Pavement wannabes; the navel-gazing rhyme styles epitomized by Buck 65's rambling arrhythmia can make even the most devout nebbish wish for someone to get on the mic and scream about shooting people. But in true indie style, Gigasingle
's sharpest moment is its most self-critical -- in "Attack of the Postmodern Pat Boones," the Object Beings sings, "Oh, they're just a couple of over-eager college kids ... that's just an art-school textbook/There's nothing to be afraid of." All that and it retails for only $6.98. Indie -- it's a state of mind.