Courtesy of the artist
Serengeti's "Family and Friends" juxtaposes a humble but idyllic vision of family with a haunting chorus.
Serengeti's "Family and Friends" juxtaposes a humble but idyllic vision of family with a haunting chorus. Courtesy of the artist
Song: "Family & Friends"
CD: Family & Friends
Serengeti is an inventive and introspective veteran rapper who remains under the radar, even after winning over a huge cross-section of critics. A native of Chicago who recently relocated to Los Angeles, his new Family & Friends is Serengeti's first solo album released by Anticon, and the title track features labelmate Yoni Wolf (of Why?) on the hook.
Family & Friends' title track juxtaposes a humble but idyllic vision of family — "Change your own oil / Read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle / Keep in touch with your cousins / A job selling ovens" — with a haunting chorus, which implies that the song's vision is just a fantasy. "When things aren't going quite as planned / you often hear the truth / from your family and friends," Wolf sings in a disorienting near-moan. Family & Friends is one of the best albums of 2011 so far, and many of its other songs similarly dissect failing relationships and the breakdown of the nuclear family. Serengeti makes a lot of dark music these days, but not in the sense of Odd Future's violent tales. Instead, he's focused on just how difficult adult life can be.