Pigeon’s Own Love Below

[rating:8/10]

A few years back, Andre 3000 was half of one of the more eclectic acts in hip hop, then the infamous double solo effort was released. More than ever before, Andre was a musician, entertainer, and pioneer. Branching out beyond the realms of hip hop, Andre found himself as an artist, it seemed.

On 2010’s Dragon Slayer, Christian hip hop troubadour Pigeon John may have done the same thing. While, perhaps, not his strongest outing, it seems like PJ is on the verge of growing into the diverse entertainer that he is destined to be.

Like Andre, John has always been eclectic, with sing song vocal delivery, nerdy antics, and cleverly inserted pop culture references. His musical tastes are diverse, as he routinely notes in his lyrics with mentions to Depeche Mode, James Brown, and Phil Collins, among many others. On Dragon Slayer, it seems like his diverse interests are starting to shine through even more and the result is something that feels both fresh and vintage at the same time.

Make no mistake, this is still a hip hop album, but tracks like “Rock Bottom Again” and “Before We’re Gone” are not hip hop in any classic sense of the term. On “Rock Bottom Again”, the listener is treated to a Ben Folds-esque piano track with some Sgt. Pepper-like horns that includes virtually nothing resembling “rapping”. “Before We’re Gone” could easily be an upbeat alt-country gem. Shades of country whispy-ness combined with an upbeat dance tempo, the track brings Canadian sing song hip hopper K-Os to mind.

The first two tracks of the album, “The Bomb” and “Buttersoft Seats”, feel like vintage PJ to this old school fan. “The Bomb” is a bragadaccio dance track that will get anyone’s toe tapping… and it includes the lyrics “Come on everybody clap your hands, white folks do it on time if you can.” Brilliance. “Buttersoft Seats” is a fun, enjoyable track about finally being able to pay bills after years of scraping by.

The two standout tracks for this fan and reviewer are “So Gangster” and “To Do List”, the 8th and 9th tracks on the album, respectively. The appeal of “So Gangster” is it’s cleverness in subverting the mainstream hip hop scene and redefining “gangster” in Pigeon’s terms. It’s truly a laugh out loud track, yet it holds up as more than novelty. “To Do List”, like the previous track, is clever and funny. A apology track for dropping the ball on getting his chores done, it’s hard not to relate at least a little if you too are a married man.

This isn’t quite the divergence that The Love Below was, but this feels like a matured, experimental John, trying to find his new, redefined niche. Where it ranks in his discography is debatable, but when all is said and done, expect this to be pointed to as the beginning of a new chapter for the former member of LA Symph and Brainwash Projects. Worth more than a listen, for sure.

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~ by thepaintedman on January 17, 2011.

4 Responses to “Pigeon’s Own Love Below”

  1. great review. one note though… k-os is canadian.

  2. Good call. That sounded wrong to me when I re-read it. Editing now.

    Thanks Mr. Nemesis.

  3. de nada.

  4. […] on his sleeve. Here are the lyrics to “Rock Bottom Again” from his most recent album, Dragon Slayer. Well, I was 12 in Inglewood when I first heard your voice, Like a Dad I never knew, and I knew I […]

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