"Oh great, another experimental dinosaur-themed hip-hop outfit in Missoula," I'm sure you're thinking. "Like we needed another one of those." Well, hold on while I explain why this is one worth paying attention to.
Mesozoic Mafia began when Off in the Woods musician Sean Burress asked friends to write lyrics for some electronic beats he'd composed. Musicians from bands like Stellarondo, Shakewell, Lunacy and the Moon, Boston Tea Party and many more jumped in. Several months and 19-plus collaborators later, the project mysteriously coalesced into a prehistoric theme. They recreate the beats live for a special show May 16.
I expected the resulting album, Raptor Rapture, to be full of poppy, kid-friendly anthems or something, but it's a different beast entirely. After an introductory track with a little girl singing over an acoustic guitar, the rest of the album is full of easy rapping over laid-back beats, with trippy, atmospheric interludes. For all the collaborators, it's a cohesive result with excellent production. Oh, and of course, the songs are about dinosaurs and their hopes and dreams. Not all the rappers are necessarily very skilled in their delivery, but the lyrics are definitely clever. "One Drink," featuring "T. Willard, Old Sap, Gargapüs, Thuggasaurus Flex," is about a triceratops wishing he could fly. Partying, weed-smoking dinos get busted by the cops in "Terrence Rex, Esq," where Burress raps, "Ain't no thing/ they start jokin'/ rolling up joints and allosaurus tokin'." Officer J. Rassic has to call in for backup. Ish gets real.
Raptor Rapture isn't something I'd blast at a house party—but it's perfect for porchin' it on a lazy afternoon with a beer and herbal remedy of choice.
Mesozoic Mafia plays an album release party Fri., May 16, along with Mr. Soap, at Stage 112. 9 PM. Free.