Cocaine 80s has returned with their latest EP, Ghost Lady. In usual fashion, the self-proclaimed champions of “dope” music surprised their fans with the release via various social media outlets such as Facebook and their personal blog.
According to Pitchfork, the group was started by acclaimed and coveted producer No I.D. The hip-hop collective is an ode to the feel of authentic 80s Hip-Hop and real music. With such an ambition in mind, its not surprising that No I.D. employed Common and underground R&B guru James Fauntleroy for the collective.
Fresh off their previous summer release, The Pursuit, the Ghost Lady EP comes as an interesting redirection from Cocaine 80's former effort. Although the collection only includes seven tracks, it has more of a cohesive concept than most of the mainstream LPs released this year. Despite the copious amount of members belonging to ’80s,’ Fauntleroy and Common seem to be the only ones really utilized on ‘Lady.’ It seems to work as the pair (trio, once you consider No I.D.’s production) adeptly tackles love and loss from the male perspective.
As the title suggests, ‘Lady’ deals with a woman who has broken a man’s heart. Whether the man of discussion is Fauntleroy or not is unclear. However, he does a good job of playing the role, as he sings thoughtful and well-written lyrics over No I.D. beats—beats that, on their own, tell the story of one who has reached a state of content after accepting the possibility of heartbreak.
The “lead single” from this EP, “Six Ft. Over” is by far one of the best tracks included. Firstly, the track title and its well thought out typography is reason enough to give listeners faith in Cocaine 80s' legitimacy as a musical act; it’s pure artistic genius. The group remains conscience of their metaphoric combination of death and love while titling this track. One immediately thinks of being “six feet under,” despite the uncertainty of whether the track is titled "Six" featuring an artist by the name of Over or "Six Feet Over." It adds a sense of mystery. Secondly, the track stars Common as the lyricist. Need one say more? As usual, Common brings the swagger and experience that can only be associated with maintaining a healthy balance between underground and mainstream rhyming. Although the group has announced no intentions of being mainstream, their simple attention to minute detail and Common's lyricism might give them the cred they need to do just that.
Other standouts include “Loved to Death” and “Not No More.” The former is easily the definitive climax and turning point of the EP. It seems to bring the story of the Ghost Lady full circle. “On her grave it said she was loved/ I loved her to death,” Fauntleroy croons. The obvious comparisons between Fauntleroy and Frank Ocean can distract one from the genuine genius of the former’s work. However, Fauntleroy comfortably does classic, unornamented R&B music without the annoying and formulaic snare-induced vibe that occasionally plagues the music released by Ocean. “Not No More” exemplifies this perfectly, deviating from the standard R&B interpretation of the EP’s theme. ‘No More’ helps the record by taking a risk. The group borrows the vibes of Barcelona folk-jazz to create an emotionally disjointed track that leaves the listener thinking “these two things don’t go together.” Employing the “Spanish guitar” and conga drums, Fauntleroy coolly gets fed up with the idea that his love is not being reciprocated. The thrill and excitement of new-found love usually associated with Spanish folk-jazz is abruptly turned on its head by Fauntleroy’s lyrical arrangements.
There is no doubt that Cocaine 80s is relatively new to the scene but their lack of fame is no reason not to check out good music, or even worse, ignore talent. Discover them for yourself by listening to the lead single, "Six" (ft. Over) below and downloading the full EP, here.
Also, check out their first EP, Pursuit, on their blog.