Stream Rhys Langston’s Poking, Prodding, Genre-Jumping New Album Stalin Bollywood

Stream Rhys Langston’s Poking, Prodding, Genre-Jumping New Album Stalin Bollywood

The first two songs on Rhys Langston’s new album are called “hos on my dick ‘cuz I look like a drawing of the Prophet Muhammad” and “the pope is a(n) (unrepentant) rapist.” Like the rest of the album, titled Stalin Bollywood, they poke and prod at you with a giddy anger and a kitchen-sink approach to style. It’s easy to get drawn in, and at 25 minutes total, almost as easy to breeze through to the end, though you may end up pausing and rewinding a few times to figure out if he really said what you think he said. As the man himself explained it in a recent YouTube caption, on this album “I explicitly interrogate and toy with the limits of our golden age of controversy in our culture; where subtlety has decayed in lieu of sensationalism and detached, effaced, misappropriated context.”

As exemplified on last year’s Language Arts Unit, LA-based Langston is ostensibly a rapper. But even more than on that record, his new music is too wide-ranging to fit into most established categories. Stalin Bollywood literally ends with Langston repeating the word “polemics,” but it’s animated by a pranksterish punk spirit throughout, even when addressing subjects as serious as the Israel-Palestine conflict. Elsewhere he covers a deep cut from TV On The Radio’s debut and laments the work of washing dishes for “dirty whiteboys” in a gentrifying neighborhood. His barrage of ideas comes at you like spitballs from sidelong angles.

That applies to the music as well. At this point it’s no longer noteworthy when an artist shows off the kind of omnivorous taste palette that has ruled the internet for many years now, but Langston manages to combine his disparate influences in fun and engaging ways. Rather than blurring into a smoothed-out post-genre mush, Stalin Bollywood keeps anxiously shifting its sound, never letting you settle into streaming-era zone-out mode. Love it or hate it, you won’t be able to ignore it when it’s on.

Stream Stalin Bollywood below, where you can also find Harley Astorga’s music video for the opening track.

Stalin Bollywood is out now on POW.

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