Ever since the Smashing Pumpkins released Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness in 1995, hour-long albums have haunted me. Illmaculate's latest runs 60 minutes, borderline lengthy here in 2012. But the rapper has much to say about gentrification, seeking fame and, of course, boasting (a rapper who doesn't boast is as useless as a high-school boy). The highlights of the PDX rapper's resume include winning one of the biggest freestyle battle rap competitions in the country, Scribble Jam, at age 17; also, he and partner The Saurus were twice victorious at the dubiously titled World Rap Championships. The YouTube vids of Illmac's battles are fun and energetic and filled with spiff-a-riffic riffing on pop culture references. But Skrill Talk ain't a battle, it's a studio album, so the energy is more laconic and practiced. That said, "Territorial" is an aggro track. It stands out for its melancholy vocals that make you want to call your homies and tell 'em you miss 'em. The combo of finger snaps, plucked violins and hand drums on "Under Their Radar, Over Their Heads" seems like a happy accident and points to an artist on his way to finding a stamp and putting it on the kids.
Illmaculate performs with Only One, Goldini Bagwell and DJ Spark, along with local acts at the Lucky Strike Bar and Casino Sat., April 21, at 8 PM. $5.