Doomtree is turning into a Minneapolis version of Wu-Tang Clan.
The Clan used the large hip-hop collective to make each MC and producer a household name, such as RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Method Man and Ghostface Killah.
Doomtree pretty much follows this method – the group dresses for battle as a crew, then divides and conquers.
As a unit, Doomtree is most powerful on stage because the group bounces energy off one another. But even when they’re apart, it’s hard to find a member of Doomtree truly solo – someone is always there for support.
P.O.S., Dessa, Cecil Otter and now Sims, all have solo records. All the albums, however, feature guest MC work by fellow Doomtree-ers and production by Lazerbeak, one of Doomtree’s beat makers.
Because of this overlapping collaboration, it could be assumed these solo records would sound alike. But this is not the case.
Sims’ new record, “Lights Out Paris,” has a much different flow from Dessa’s, Cecil’s or P.O.S.’s.
“Lights Out Paris” sounds more like a classic, straightforward indie hip-hop record, full of scattered, mysterious sampled voices and heavy bass mixed with lo-fi loops. Whereas
Cecil’s and P.O.S.’s have a stream-of-consciousness feel, Sims favors lyrics which are more cohesive, story-oriented and sharply political.
And while clearly distinct from his cohorts, Sims emerges with a record just as edgy and daring. The most alarming and hair-raising track is the anti-war cry “Frontline.” Sims raps, “Jesus please, save me from the
Jesus freaks” and the chorus shouts, “Left right, march to your grave site” while dark, swirling strings weep in the background.
While the Doomtree cats are proving themselves as individual forces they, unlike Wu-Tang Clan, have yet to officially release a record all together. The song “No Home Owners,” though, features the entire Doomtree cast cheering, “Doomtree time to let it be known, from the bottom of the bottle to the top of the throne.”
But on this – the album in which Sims is showcasing his individuality from the group – such a reunion feels out of place. Perhaps this song would fit better on the first official Doomtree release.