P.O.S., born Stefon Alexander, is a hip hop artist from the city of lakes many refer to as Minneapolis. P.O.S. can mean a lot of things, but in this instance it is an abbreviation for “Pissed Off Stef,” something he was referred to long before the days of his hip hop career. Growing up a punk rocker, P.O.S. was not originally a fan of hip hop until he learned it was more of an alternative form of expression over a glorified music genre.
Recently putting out his fifth release, Never Better, once again on Rhymesayers, P.O.S. produced over half of the CD himself. The album was also released in a limited, custom, do-it-yourself edition, featuring 16 solid picture inserts with six plastic overlays, allowing the owner to create their own cover art combination. I admit to having some fun with this prior to checking out the CD.
Taking his love of punk rock, P.O.S. chose to try a new way of expressing himself and soon was creating rhymes and beats that elaborated into a style of his own. It’s hip hop fueled with punk rock suggestions, personal journeys, and accomplishments, making for a striking release.
Already making a name for himself in the underground hip hop world with Doomtree, P.O.S. is slated to be touring a city near you this summer at the Van’s Warped Tour. Keeping himself occupied until then, P.O.S. will soon will be appearing with label mate, Atmosphere, in the Spring for even some live shows before the Summer kick off.
“Sorry I took so long” is stated by P.O.S. on the beginning track “Let It Rattle.” This introduction track really proved P.O.S. has something to say with an array of statements fornicated into a rap track with excellent intense drumming. My first taste of P.O.S. was exactly what I was expecting.
Following the impressive opening was even more insane drum heavy track “Drumroll (We’re All Thirsty)”. Accompanying P.O.S. was Doomtree making for a thrilling collection of words and beats. In addition to this track a video that blew my mind accompanies it. The video is like watching an urban war with people running for their lives while being attacked by… well I think it would be best if you just checked out the video for yourself to come to that determination. I have my own ideas.
Continuing the CD was the intriguing “Savion Glover,” with P.O.S. taking a lyric from Fugazi‘s “Five Corporations,” and adding it to the already heavily referenced track that seemed like a non-stop expression. “Purexed” really had a Sage Francis flow style throughout leading up to even more impressive drumming backing the chorus. I loved the energy and personable, friendly feel throughout the track. “Graves (We Wrote The Book)” was a little more urban hip hop sounding mixed with some guitar jams. Again, choice words added together with clever rhymes kept me entertained throughout the song.
“Get Smokes” was a freestyle of sorts, with P.O.S. stopping and laughing for a brief moment here and there in between his determined flow, speaking out on everything from Iggy Pop to the disturbed nation. The beats backing him were a unique mix of funk, and even at times had a record-scratching Kid Koala resemblance. “Been Afraid” was a little more serious than the previous tracks, speaking of the misfortune of a girl caught up in a violent relationship.
“Low Light Low Life” stood out with the catchy beats, accompanied by horns and keyboard, with the sweet female flow of Dessa from Doomtree adding to the excitement of the track. This song not only was one of my favorites on the CD but will get the party moving for sure with amazing RJD2 like beats and Blueprint reminding flows.
The CD seemed to start mixing things up with “Optimist (We Are Not Meant For Them),” as it started out very plain and organic sounding, with beat produced by slapping hands on inanimate objects, perhaps cups. P.O.S. concluded with a screaming and hollering refrain of sorts.
“Terrorish” mixed the rapping some more with a little hard screaming, courtesy of Jason Shevchuk of None More Black. The quick bass line kept me rocking my head along to the quick track, with P.O.S. spitting out words as fast as he possibly can. Can you say freestyle group sing-a-long lyricism?
“Never Better” continued with a stray away from the hip hop and more so an indie rock, alt rock approach, reminding me of Cooper Temple Clause mostly from the highly distorted guitars, as well as Judah Nagler, of The Velvet Teen, lending his calm dreary singing. Closing down the CD was “The Brave And The Snake,” a track that left me wanting more – and thanks to a secret track, I got my craving. The secret track was a stunning bonus and seemed to calm me down after such an exciting dose of a real hip hop release.
Never Better really grew on me throughout as I listened to the CD. It was like during each track I was reading a Choose Your Own Adventure book because I had no idea what was coming up next. The genre combination, especially the punk rock and hip hop, kept things ever so interesting to the point where I have listened to this CD over and over.
P.O.S. does not sound like he is full of himself at all during any of the tracks, and when you add that to his amazing beat creations and genus writing skills, I have nothing bad to say about this release or P.O.S for that matter. Drums, bass, a constant flow, and a serious widespread talent for expressing himself make me a fan of P.O.S. and I am pretty sure it will for you, too, if you appreciate expression and real hip hop.
–Download This! – P.O.S. – “Drumroll”
-Check out P.O.S.’s MySpace page.
-Need something to do? Head over to Make It Better, a do-it-yourself album cover maker. The site was inspired by the DIY Never Better CD artwork concept. You can also check out the entire album while messing around with the fun little program.
-Are you wondering waht the DIY CD artwork is all about? Check this out:
-Check out the powerful video for “Drumroll” – seriously, this video is insane: