Best Rap-Rock Amalgamator - 2006
For close to a decade the Anticon label's coterie of artists has behaved like hyperactive 2-year-olds with boxes of Crayons, maniacally crossing the lines separating rock from hip hop. Some of the results have been fascinating, others have been confounding, but most have been distinctly experimental, pushing the boundaries of genre and sound. Last year, the Oakland foursome Why? released the imprint's most accessible disc yet, Elephant Eyelash. A collection of surreal lyrics ("You get stoned, like death in the Bible") spoken-sung in a meandering tone over cascading piano parts, woozy guitar hooks, and scattershot percussion, the LP sounds like Beck and the Beastie Boys jamming while high on cough syrup and Pavement records. Led by Cincinnati native Yoni Wolf and including his brother Josiah, Doug McDiarmid, and Matt Meldon, Why? makes a rap/rock connection that's alternately goofy, catchy, and thought-provoking way more than you can say for, oh, Linkin Park.