It’s time to unlearn everything you’ve learned about conventional hip hop. Approaching the culture from a unique angle and re-building the genre from the ground up is the international alternative hip hop duo, AWARDS. The group consists of Thesis Sahib (London, Ontario) and Funken (Tours, France). The dynamic duo (and they truly are) released Warm Computers in October last year and here’s why underground hip hop enthusiasts shouldn’t sleep on this release!
Since its beginnings, the hip hop culture has always been a versatile platform for expression. AWARDS takes the genre’s ethos to the next level in a very relevant and re-evolutionary way. Without going too far, Warm Computers keeps the innovative approach fresh, but contained. It’s a fun, upbeat listen. The album delivers social commentary in a lighthearted, thoughtful and clever way. The sound is a fusion of 8-bit inspired beats with a post punk dream pop vibe to it.
While their debut EP (2013’s Futuristic Jokes) laid the groundwork for what’s to come, Warm Computers feels more developed. All geographic limitations aside, there’s no separation between these two, in terms of chemistry. There’s a strong cohesion that exists between Thesis Sahib and Funken, having been reinforced considerably since their EP almost six years ago.
“On a positive note, we’re holding hands, with basic, beautiful, yet brutal telepathy”
AWARDS (from the track “Warm Computers”)
The album kicks off with the title track and lead single, “Warm Computers”, an upbeat and charming take on our growing dependence of social media. Are we unknowingly embracing the disconnect as social media begins to take over our lives? Are we feeling closer to each other or drifting further apart? “We could share the warmth of our computers” in exchange for the warmth of our physical connections. Imagine if David Byrne and the guy from Cake made a hip hop track over a party line, you’d only start to get the idea.
Their next single is a personal favourite, “Ink Or Paint”. Thesis Sahib’s lyrics glide over Funken’s lullaby-esque bass-heavy boom baps. His wordplay is on point as he cleverly describes his pursuit of his love for art, being a real life painter and sculptor, as if it were a pursuit of a love interest with chilled cadence and witty, dynamic bars.
Playful and colourful though it maybe, there’s a lot of depth and weight in Warm Computers. The sound and the lyrical themes work cohesively to bring the concept of our increasing dependence on circle. As AWARDS, they create something 100% satisfyingly fresh and fills the void you never knew you had. Just when you think it’s all be done, award yourself with this underground masterpiece.