Chilo & Mane Event - No Such Paradise

Challenging a paradigm while arguably operating strictly within its confines might seem courageous or hypocritical, depending on where you stand, but for Chilo and Mane Event it's essentially hip-hop. Take a song like "Real Is," featuring John Jigg$, for example. Where Chilo and Mane Event offer definitions of reality as in/tangible truths, Jigg$ re-ups the ante with an assault on perceptions that dictate false narratives over real ends, e.g., "How you gon deal with a guerilla that rap / I done been to Brazil and back spitting ignorant raps."

The title cut then doubles down as Chilo kicks his verse off with one of the album's tightest couplets — "Wicked intentions abound here / Regardless of what transpired we out here" — then goes deeper, expounding on that opener with, "Spirits scream nightly while you dare to dream / Telling of the treachery that the land has seen." A global studies teacher by trade and Nuyorican poet by practice, Chilo has quotables for days, but concepts as provocative and layered as No Such Paradise's are not built on bars alone.

Mane Event's production m.o. — "slice dusty samples in the precisest angles" — succeeds in part because the beats too seem bent on challenging their own structure. Beat changes pop up not just between song parts but also mid-verse, and almost every song concludes with an outro that sounds like the beat devoured its own extremities only to regurgitate an even doper, albeit possibly unrappable, version of itself. In that sense, the album's production im/perfectly echoes one of its core themes, showing there's always more than meets the ears and eyes, minds' or otherwise. However or whether listeners divine divinity in that message, there's No Such Paradise. It's always something else.


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