Project Blowedians Self Jupiter and Kenny Segal collaborate on a conceptual album as The Kleenrz, and they definitely have their work cut out in the messy world of hip-hop…
It begins with “The Interview”; briefing the album’s protagonist with the job specifications, and the listener with the concept; these aren’t your everyday waste removers.
“Filthy” (video, below) deploys indifferent drums over piano keys that epitomise every possible connotation of the word “noir” culminating in the perfect backdrop for Self Jupiter to provide exposition on his character: “Filthy by association/ My hands are dirty by my occupation”. While the animated video and the classic sitcom-style singing courtesy of Fanny Franklin take some weight off what could be a wholly dark song, it’s hard to not have cinema’s iconic stone cold “Wetworkers” come to mind when listening to this track, and the entire album for that matter; testament to a well executed concept album.
Self Jupiter, always the visually vivid narrator, excels from the get-go in achieving this. On this particular track he weaves two narratives; flipping between the morbid details of the job at hand and his uneasy relationship with a woman, “I had a thought when I severed his arm, she left her panties on my bedroom floor/ Probably wish I gave her more attention, what she don’t know is that I’m always listenin’”.
However, the album doesn’t just render movie stereotypes into rhymes. By basing itself on the sinister potential of humans it serves to explore a greater theme of facades, and the need to dispel them. This album is all about lifting up rocks and seeing what wriggles beneath.
Tracks such as “Mr. Sandman” read like the diary of an individual on the road to becoming one of the Kleenrz. A tenacious desire to remove the gloss from everything pretentious sees the disembowelment of soft toys and the dismissal of fairy tales, rendering their characters vulnerable and broken. What this track does to the Disney-childhood; “Nasty” does to the R’n’B club song. It’s highly descriptive lyrics are both hilarious and nauseating; serving as the absolute antithesis to “fantasy bars” by generic radio rapper #2.
Throughout tracks like this we also get a rich understanding of Self Jupiter’s character. “Best Served Cold” is about exactly what you think it is, however we’re given a whole recipe book on various methods of preparing it. Extended metaphors of an articulate and indulgent nature convey revenge as a craft fuelled by passion “calibrating scopes by the baker’s hand”, however this is juxtaposed with the more mathematical, double-meaning, “Revenge is Pi; 3.14159”. Like any good contract professional, we get some insight into their spiritual ethos with lines like “Not a mean fella, just a painkiller” on “City Lights” and the track “Outer Rings” in general, which also features abstract poets Abstract Rude and Shing02 over some suitably atmospheric production.
Kenny Segal deserves substantial praise for his fingerprint-free hand in The Kleenrz. The production comes across purposefully sparse giving Self Jupiter the room to accentuate his rhymes. Every bit of instrumentation is chosen with calculated precision to match and create the tone of the tracks; it’s equal parts ominous, seedy and vacant. The fact that the album is completely sample-free is an additional feat, and in this case the completely original compositions make for a very original sounding album. “The Kleenrz” is unlike a lot of hip-hop, and it’s a great example of how the artform can be taken to exciting, conceptual territory with storytelling and production. Artists within the genre capable of this are few and far between, so it makes for a great listen when they come along and drop something like this.