Raised on radio country as a kid, certain kinds of music just didn’t register with me. Rap, hip-hop, and metal would be lost to me until I was about 20. As such, I didn’t participate in the golden age of hip-hop, and don’t have the nostalgic memories most people have when they hear a track that belongs on a Walkman. While I might not have had my feet on the ground floor, I can appreciate the good tracks in hindsight, and appreciate all of the amazing things that came after. How I stumbled into Dutchmassive’s work is lost to time, but fortunately, his music is not. Listening to JUNK PLANET was one of the first time’s I connected with hip-hop, it became a kind of Rosetta Stone for the genre. Enough about context, let’s talk about the album.
The 18 track album is a great mix of downbeat interludes, throwbacks, and collaborations. It hits a stride early with Soul Searchin’ featuring Pack FM. Dutch goes straight into how he sees himself in the current state of the music scene (“I’m not an MC, I’m just a fan who likes to interact”), and how labels, with complicit musicians, have been fucking things up for years. Pack FM steals the end of the track with one of my favorite bits on the album, “The game is saturated by cats who made it and had their reputations fabricated. The school of hard knocks, here’s my diploma, graduated, paid my dues, here’s my receipt, see where the funds were allocated.”
BusStopBuildingblock is another great story track detailing a series of bad turns on a bad day. At each turn though creativity, determination, and the desire to play a Walkman keep you from giving in. Its a nice chill version of ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Like a few tracks on the album, it lets ring at a moment of despair “FUCK THE MALL” (which reminds me of the great Fuck You bit from 25th Hour). No matter how lousy things might be turning out, don’t give in to the productivity hell that is the mall. It’s another one of the positive tracks on this album.
Just me and my Walkman, god damn, if every there was a track that ALWAYS puts a smile on my face. Words can’t quite express how much I love this one. The playful piano pairs well with the upbeat flow as Dutch takes a stroll through memory lane, with the light shining down on that blessed piece of Sony technology. Even during the slice of nostalgia, he still uses it as a platform to take on the current state of music and it’s various mediums of delivery. On the topic of quality is one of my favorite lines, “I push pause and wonder, what if he was gone ’cause he died of hunger?”.
Junk Planet may not be non stop perfection, but it’s damn sure worth a listen. If you like what you hear, pick up some of his stuff from the Band Camp page he runs. Support the good guys/gals out there, if not you, then who?