Saturday, March 30, 2024

Money Has No Owners by Midnight Sons


Organization is freedom, not restriction. Older folks trying to impart this message felt like fascists when we were young. Creating whatever you want is joy like nothing else this life provides but it takes another lifetime to realize organizing it is the only real way to actualize that work. You can leave it raw and fuzzy but trust (from experience) that everyone who greets it will wonder what it could have been (unless it was rightfully organized into raw and fuzzy).
The two men who made this album are some of the most organized I’ve ever been around. Their self-titled first collaboration is my favorite album I’ve heard from either. I’m delighted to report the follow up radiates with an expansion that only comes when exploring without any risk; like interviewing for a great job when you already have a really good one. These two run labels, press vinyl, make runs to the post office with merchandise to parcel, they weren’t going to come up short. You can find evidence of this freedom in the Zilla Rocca backround singers at the start of I Never Stay In Touch. Play this front to back and do your darnedest to place it with any other project they’ve done. It won’t work.
When people start listening to Zilla Rocca or Chong Wizard I make sure to tell them not to be fooled by how seamless and practically refined it all is. You won’t run into more than a handful of producers that can fill your world like Chong does on At The Pool Hall or Terrible Twos and you can’t make a list (long enough to impress anyone) with emcees willing to take accountability for what happened on Packer Ave.
Side A is the one we knew we needed, mixing and matching amazing lyricists over production connected to the experience of watching Rap City except it sounds better than our memory. Tough Guys Fill A Cemetery is the biggest face scruncher but the next song Marathon Man is not far behind. You’ll feel the change though going from Joe Clair to Men Never Take Advice. The dark humor starts to get heavy…the soul and jazz sounds start to ricochet within your headphones creating an air of reflection. Just as Tough Guys Fill A Cemetery is the key to the face scruncher side Blame Yourself is the lighthouse bringing side B to shore. The cool thing about Zilla is the beat doesn’t force a change in his subject matter. It just deepens his resolve to keep the mixture right; make fun of Bobby Cox, remember childhood food, take Dad life seriously. It’s all stirred together with such expertise you might mistake it for light work. My favorite line of the album “Me and my son got a handshake that’s real. Sunday morning eating some pancakes and chill.” It’s the opening of New Boss with AJ Suede in a way that’s all a parent can ask for. The best parts of being a Dad are sharing something with your child no one else knows or can tap into. Love unlike any other. Zilla conveyed that in nine words. The title is in the first song (Old Money 82) “Money Has No Owners, my budget fat as Joey Bag-O-Donuts. You have no fans just Rap donors.” When taken in the greater context of these dual organized minds it sounds like Zilla’s shape and form of the expression ‘Stay Dangerous’ a reminder that anyone whose worked in sales understands. Being up today means absolutely nothing when you go to work tomorrow. Everything starts from 0. The money sits with arms folded watching, waiting for whose pocket it ends up in. Having the big budget isn’t as much a brag as a promise to keep fresh focus and build momentum to chase it every day.

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