Pittsburgh’s Odell Lancaster and California’s Flxtch! join forces as Notorious Bastards; their debut tape, Trifecta, dropped last week.
Like many albums that draw inspiration from MF Doom’s brand of crate-digging, tongue-twisting hip-hop, Trifecta is heavy on dusty strings, flickering bells, and muted drums (when drums are even involved; a few tracks get by on nothing but plodding bass and glitchy start-stops, using pauses to mark time). “Criminals Of Alcatraz III” is introduced by the (sampled) voice of CBS’s Charles Osgood making dorky “rock” puns (“What better place for a rock reunion…than on the island they call ‘The Rock?’ ” Seriously, Chuck, that’s the best you got?), but the wordplay gets much sharper once the Bastards themselves go in. Over a beat that reminds me of Pete Rock’s work on Nas’s “The World Is Yours,” the two wordsmiths “come at you with shots,” melting the block with heat and verbally guillotining other rappers, Flxtch!’s nasal snarl contrasting nicely with Odell’s rubbery flow. Fun and lyrical at the same time, the song and album should please any hip-hop fan.