TRACK FEATURE: 'Brick' by Realname & Stoneset
For many years now, experimental hip-hop group Too Birds, Realname and his pals at X Amount Records have been keeping the backpacker rap flag flying in the Naarm/Birrarranga/Melbourne scene. “Brick” sees Realname once again teaming up with producer Stoneset, whose unkempt and ragged beats nicely complement his sharp and often unhinged vocal delivery.
While their previous single, the relatively introspective and melancholy “Pretend It Is”, laid on a mellower, guitar-driven instrumental with just an undercurrent of something sinister, “Brick” spins out into a panic attack over a fiery, monochromatic beat. Allusions to isolation and depression; “Friends are always so alive and on top of life; it makes me look like a cunt… cunts” he raps sardonically, in a way speaking to an insecurity many of us face, as stark, wobbly synth bass and noisy drums tear through. He follows with “say my name at the door when you go to hell” - a fiery agony, not without humour - as described, “hurting yourself to make others pay.”
The doomy, sweeping synths swell and simmer over the hook, underscored by the blippy, deliberately cheap-sounding notes - “How you make friends like this? How you make plans with a problem?” Halfway through, the beat glitches and sputters as the track collapses into a full-on breakdown, resurfacing in a sharper, mutated form. The track’s fierceness is furthered by the intensely absurd “DIY nightmare” of the video. The rapper’s googly-eyed and distorted head takes up the majority of the picture as he zips by disorientingly on train tracks, going somewhere, but turned inward - as more trains and various moving objects meander in and out, speaking to the track’s description of “a panic attack on the bus.” Only in its even more spiky second half do we arrive at the station, but even here all that’s left is to devilishly smile and run from the crowd… “Brick” speaks to a state of mind that may be familiar to many, especially in our current isolated and disoriented state - it’s a slow burn of the mind, a crawl through its dark corners - perhaps with no real release or consolation, but at the very least, a storm to hold on to.