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Never Better

P.O.S

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Album Review

It almost feels mean-spirited to call P.O.S. rap-rock, so sullied is that name from millennial mook-rock, but as he proudly interpolates Fugazi and Notorious B.I.G. on Never Better, it becomes obvious that this term is one he's determined to redefine. Track titles like "Drumroll (We're All Thirsty)" and "Terrorish" don't disappoint, all churlish guitar thuds, chest-thumping choruses and rapid-fire rhymes; it feels like the Linkin Park aesthetic done right, which is, really, a strange artistic achievement, but one handily accomplished. These hot flashes of intensity are nicely contrasted by neighbors like the darkly soothing "Optimist (We Are Not for Them)" and the satisfying boom-bap of "Savion Glover," giving the album some assured ebbs in intensity. Better still is the bombastically chintzy "Goodbye," which sounds like the type of beat Just Blaze would save for his very favorite client. But this is staunchly P.O.S.' show, and as an MC he's eager to dazzle. While his big emphatic Midwestern enunciation recalls Eminem, his emo-rap fixations are more in line with El-P or Cadence Weapon. He's fixated, obsessed even, with his friends, particularly those who've abused his trust, and constructs his record from the pensive moments of solitude between vainglorious barnburners. Between this brutal bleating and the general anger of the production, the record is dank and punishing on the ears — probably just as P.O.S. intended, but still a step or two shy of the sonic maturity he so yearns to lend the subgenre.

Biography

Born: August 18, 1981

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A self-taught bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, and drummer, P.O.S. (which stands for a variety of things, including Product of Society, Piece of Sh*t, and Promise of Skill) spent most of his childhood influenced by the energy of punk, drumming for Cadillac Blindside and singing and playing guitar for Building Better Bombs. At 14, however, he was introduced to hip-hop via Company Flow and Oddjobs, and began rapping for fun, performing at small venues around Minneapolis. In 2004 P.O.S. put out his...
Full bio
Never Better, P.O.S
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