Rappers Fam Ross and Arsinel team up for Pen Lordz, a masterclass in lyrical underground hip-hop.
“Emaculate” gets by on atmosphere and wordplay alone. No snares, no kicks; there isn’t a bit of percussion to be accounted for outside of a few steady taps on the world’s gentlest cymbal. Weeping strings, glistening harp flourishes, and a wandering bassline are all that Fam Ross and Arsinel need to go off; the instrumental sets a leisurely tone, and both lyricists rap like they’re sitting at the table after a full meal, bouncing ideas around in a pleasantly sluggish manner, with plenty of throat clearing and background laughter to go around. Fam Ross forcefully dispels the idea of viral fame–“I ain’t paying shit for your playlist/ ‘Tag a artist who..’/Man, you wack for even saying it”–while Arsinel steals your chain and compares himself to a basketball player, a month, a baseball team, and a desert optical illusion, respectively. It’s an entertaining listen from two wordsmiths who are in the pocket, but out of the box.