Anticon: A Love Story

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, November 28, 2011 04:44pm | Post a Comment
To know Anticon is to love Anticon. I’m sure casual Anticon fans exist; but by and large we are anAnticon obsessive breed; comparative, in some ways, to those that follow the Manson Family—you mention a trivial fact and eyes widen, speech accelerates with enthusiasm, rattling off dates, facts, and slogans. Anticon is that level of obsession without the creepiness—finding a fellow devotee is finding a new friend for life.

Anticon is an independent hip-hop record label, initially based in the Bay Area and founded in the late ‘90s. Similar to other hip-hop “crews,” they’ve released records as individual bands or performers, but other artists make guest appearances on nearly every release (of which there are MANY. Every artists is wildly prolific). Founding members of Anticon include Doseone, Jel, Sole, Alias, Pedestrian, Odd Nosdam, Telephone Jim Jesus, and Why?. Combined project acts of these individual artists include Themselves, Subtle, cLOUDDEAD, Greenthink, and Deep Puddle Dynamics. The combinations continue: Themselves + German indie band The Notwist = 13 & God, and Sole’s solo project that is now post-Anticon is Sole and the Skyrider Band.

Anticon is not gangster rap, nor is it minority self-empowerment hip-hop. It is surreal, experimental, why? elephant eyelash anticonand by far the most exciting music to emerge from any genre in the past ten years. Someartists that began with hip-hop have moved on to sounds more electronic or pop, like Alias’ Muted or Why?’s Elephant Eyelash. Doseone’s apocalyptic, rapid-fire poetics have been placed against both drum machine and electric cello. cLOUDDEAD created a singeable melody out of the lyrics “It's hard to stand the sight of two dogs dead under a sky so blue/You have to stop the blood to your head/to fit the breath in front of you.”  If anything, the maturity and spread of Anticon’s artists geographically and genre-wise has only enhanced their accessibility and confirmed their initial manifesto of Music for the Advancement of Hip-Hop.

I came upon Anticon in 2000 while still in high school—some long weekend at 2 a.m. a friend on
Anticon Music for the advancement of hip-hop
hallucinogens slammed in the new Doseone and Boom Bip CD Circle —the curtains melted and Ihad a new favorite album. All Anticon artists, especially Doseone, became surreal, daily staples for my friends and me. We would escape the 100+ degree heat of Phoenix and the black-clad hordes of Slipknot fans that roamed the city in favor of dark apartments and Sole’s Bottle of Humans or Themselves self-titled debut, screaming “if I could be any animal which would I be? the human soul  . . . because there's almost no halflife!” Anticon records then were the coping mechanism that helped us endure our harsh environs, and today in the vibrant world-at-large, with lyrics that are persistently mutterable, it remains our secret language. 

-- Rachel Walther

Anticon artist Baths performed at Amoeba Hollywood on February 1, 2011:

Check out these Anticon albums for sale now on!

Relevant Tags

Anticon (9), Doseone (9), Jel (6), Sole (2), Alias (2), Pedestrian (1), Odd Nosdam (1), Telephone Jim Jesus (1), Why? (3), 13 & God (1), Sole And The Skyrider (1)