There’s been this kind of desire in music for awhile now. It’s like when Kurt Cobain said, that he wanted his band to be vicious like Black Flag, heavy like Black Sabbath, while poppy and melodic like the Beatles. While other bands had done it–specifically Husker Du and the Pixies–it was that unconscious idea that was brought up to the mainstream that made them the overnight success that they were.
Now hip hop kind of has that same kind of unconscious desire: to sound heavy like metal, to have the viciousness of punk, the nostalgia of vaporwave, and the instrumentation of electronic music. That’s kind of why, regardless of what Kanye does, music lovers can never really fault him. I mean how often does a hip hop track sound Psychedelic?
So what do unconscious desires have to do with Ryan Deranged’s album, Deranged EP? Simple it fulfills the desires you never knew you had.
So let’s dive into the first track of Deranged EP, Hamartia. In Soundcloud rap, the Navi sample, “Hey” in Ocarina of Time is kind of a staple. I mean I even have the Skull Kid’s laugh in one of my songs. If there’s ever a debate on whether someone is an industry plant or not; if one of their early songs doesn’t feature an N64 Zelda reference, then they’re probably a plant. Yet also the reason I point out this sample, is because it gives the track a really needed levity. What I mean by that is that there are hip hop groups that are experimenting with heavier, darker sounds; bands like Death Grips, $uicideBoy$, or GHOSTMANE. Yet I wouldn’t say those groups are “fun” in the way that Ryan Deranged is fun.
The best analogy I can come up with is picture punk rock, all the earnest bands singing about Anarchy, getting fucked up, social upheaval, and political views delivered with a sneer and sarcastic lyrical delivery. Then imagine the Misfits, who wore makeup to look like Ghouls in their devil locked hair, singing about B-movie horror movies, and Jaqueline Kennedy giving blow jobs. While the punk groups seem like outsiders with outsider opinions, who are abrasive, edgy, and do controversial shit to do controversial shit. The Misfits seem more like the class clown, and let’s be honest a class clown is always more preferable than an edgelord.
So Ryan Deranged has an incredibly “fun” kind of approach to what other bands have doing. As mentioned before the Navi sample, combined with the dirty synths that aren’t abrasive, the sword slice samples, and the distorted laugh sample. All of these individual elements builds up a track that is just sounds fun.
Now that I’ve kind of set the stage, let’s dive into the rest of the album. Chaos, has some amazing bars. The flow is absolutely on point–in fact let’s say that the sound isn’t your cup of tea. Anybody can admire a virtuoso even if they have no idea what is going on. I know nothing about soccer. I just know that you gotta get the ball in the goal. Yet if you were to show me a compilation of the greatest soccer plays ever made, I would be impressed. The same I would say for Ryan Deranged, even though he goes out on a limb with a unique sound, he at least has some virtuosity that even a casual listener of hip hop can respect. So with the imagery, as I described in his track on Hamartia, this track really embraces the fun of this kind of hip hop. With violins that sound like something that would be played on an early N64 horror game, distorted heavy synths, HEAVY 808’s, and glitchiness of some aspects of the track; it’s so over the top that it becomes enjoyable.
The next track If you don’t know now you know, sounds more like a cheesy video game boss kind of music, and I mean that in the best way. With the looped distorted laughter, brevity of the track, and that same signature distortion. It’s over before you know it, and the same applies for Opus Dei. Which again calls back to punk, where the Ramones would play 20 songs in 30 minutes or 30 songs in 20 minutes. With this whole album being under 10 minutes it’s really a breeze to listen through. Not just because of it’s length, but also due to the fact that the sound always manages to surprise you, while still sticking within Ryan Deranged’s sound. It’s such a unique sound that every synth, every 808, and every sample seems novel. In having this fully fleshed out style, played out in such a short amount of time, that it’s incredibly rewarding to listen to. After all Shakespeare said, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” The songs by being shorter, keep all the bullshit out, and just focus on what matters–the music.
So with the last track, Babylon–which opens up with same amazing samples that call back some Sci-Fi Horror movie–it’s the best summary of what this whole album is. While most of soundcloud rap that’s experimental try to be abrasive, shocking, emo, and political; Ryan Deranged goes a different approach, and one that should be further explored in this genre of hip hop. Because if you try to be abrasive, shocking, emo, political, etc. all it needs is somebody to take the piss out of you, for everybody to see your music as schlocky. So when this album, that sounds like a video game Boss’ EP, embraces this campy sound–it adds something that is needed for this type of experimental Hip Hop to survive. Fun.
So I can’t give this album enough reccs. You gotta check it out for yourself. It’s the kind of album that everybody didn’t know they needed to hear, until they’ve heard it. With that I give this album my full recc.