Terror Management Theory is essentially the idea that humans spend their entire lives attempting to deflect the inevitability of death and convince themselves life has purpose. If you think that's a bleak statement just give some of the deep cuts here a spin
Doubling down in 2019, Billy Woods has followed up his "Hiding Places" collab effort with producer Kenny Segal with quite a contrast. That record boasted chunky beats jumping off the page with Billy Woods riddling his paranoia in the claustrophobic crawl spaces that remained.
Here however, we're met with cold sparse instrumentals where the drums have been flattened out rattling slowly on forever. In these devoid landscapes Billy makes the case there's no reason to fight, hide, or worry as these are helpless acts. He even mocks those that foolishly express a sense of hope given the inescapable doom on the horizon. This fatalist prose is at the center of every track and serves as the theme of the album.
It's not all desolation though as Billy often breaks the news to us through his patented warped humor. "Defiant like you gon fight till the end, go head try but that's easier said, I'll sleep when you're dead, die in my sleep grinnin give it a week" may have you laughing initially until the chuckles fade and you think... yup we're fucked.
Interestingly this album contains multiple features. While Mach Hommy and Pink Siifu deliver quality spots I found that they cut into the isolationist intentions. The gravity of the album weighs heaviest in the middle third where Billy traverses the barren terrain alone. One exception was singer FIELDED who's distant outsider vocals consistently set an appropriate tone.
This work can come off as jumpy and sporadic track to track but Billy's sharp tongue, blunt emotion, and pervading pessimism help put the picture back together. While Wood's shtick grows more and more familiar "Terror Management" still offers depth and intrigue with yet another production curve ball. In the end this sits just outside my Top 10 of the year. - 6 days ago