Today I'm switching things up and reviewing an album; Sick Passenger by Schaffer The Darklord. Schaffer is a nerdcore rapper who put his first album, Meet Your Maker, out back in 2004. Sick Passenger marks his fourth full studio album which is his first in four years. In those four years he has performed many shows including multiple Nerdapaloozas as well as touring with MC Chris.
This is Schaffer's first full concept album complete with short skits every few songs or so. This is an idea I absolutely love, with Velvet Rope by Janet Jackson still being one of my favorites that uses that format. Basically, Schaffer is speaking with his therapist (or is he!?!?) about the many short comings he feels he's had over the years and what to do to overcome them to grow as a person. The skits on this album are quite entertaining back and forths and are hard to skip while listening even if you originally intended to just go to your favorite songs. That's the marking of a great concept album.
The songs are fantastic as well. The Opener is his best opening song yet. It's a bit harder than most of the other tracks on the album and gets your really psyched for what's about to unfold. Plenty of other stand out songs are on this album such as Afraid Of Everything ft. BB Heart, which he has a music video and is really quite haunting. Giant Iron Snake (which is one of my favorites) is set in a dystopian fantasy setting filled with lore and really builds up for a punchline at the very end of the song, so it's basically the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode of the album. Boys ft. Kristybee! who absolutely kills it on a track about the sexism that can take place in the nerd community which is followed immediately by the song Tom Girl about Schaffer The Darklord's embrace of what is considered to be the less masculine sides of nerd culture like musical theater and is just a damn good track. And The Amender which is a remarkably hopeful yet profoundly sad song in the same spirit of greats like Morrissey and Trent Reznor.
Without a doubt, Sick Passenger is the best album that Schaffer has put out yet. It's deeply personal, honest, and doesn't hold back. You'll be happy, sad, even infuriated with him over the course of this album, and you'll feel better for having listened to it. It's not often that you feel like you really took something away from an album on more than superficial level and learned something about someone and yourself. This is one of those albums. Give yourself the gift of Schaffer and have a listen.
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