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SD-2100 - EP Review: SD-2100 vs The World

05 Sep 2023 // A review by JamieDenton

Hailing from Kirikiriroa (Hamilton), the multi-talented artist Sam Densem has showcased his versatility across a spectrum of musical genres and styles. Sam's approach to his craft involves crafting distinct packages of music, each with its own unique flavour and character. From the singer-songwriter essence of the Indie Boys in the Hood EP to the experimental house album Tap, and even the progressive rock journey of the White EP, he's traversed musical landscapes with creative finesse. In his latest offering, the rap and R&B-infused EP SD-2100 vs. the World, Sam unleashes his persona, SD-2100, onto the vibrant realm of rap and hip-hop, all while maintaining a playful and cheeky disposition.

The EP's opening track, Here We Go, immediately establishes the tone for the entire EP—a vibrant, poppy, and light-hearted atmosphere. This track skilfully embraces the art of self-deprecating awkwardness, a comedic style deeply rooted in the rich tradition of Aotearoa New Zealand humour, exemplified by renowned artists such as Flight of the Conchords. SD-2100's narrative approach in this song predominantly takes on a stream-of-consciousness form, effortlessly connecting seemingly unrelated thoughts in an amusing, self-deprecating, yet utterly captivating manner. However, what truly anchors Here We Go is its musical backdrop—a relatively simple hip-hop-inspired beat, adorned with an irresistibly catchy keyboard hook. This minimalist and hypnotically repetitive groove serves as the perfect canvas for the foregrounded vocals, providing a consistent rhythm that keeps listeners hooked. Occasionally, the lyrics playfully dissolve into awkward mumbling or even silence, cleverly serving as both a humorous reflection on the artist's persona and a challenge to the audience's preconceived notions of what defines a (semi)-successful rapper. While Here We Go may not reinvent the wheel, it accomplishes its mission with exceptional precision—it delivers pure, unadulterated fun, which appears to be the primary intention of this EP.

Closing out the EP is Shoutout. This song playfully pokes fun at the prevailing trend of excessive shoutouts in contemporary music. In a delightful twist, it seems to embark on an ambitious quest to shout out just about everyone and everything—be it the police, various gangs, an array of politicians, virtually every city across the country, and, at one point, even professing disdain for Auckland before promptly extending a shoutout to Devonport and the North Shore within the same breath. What makes this track so enjoyable is its deliberate exaggeration, serving as a subtle critique of artists who toss in a flurry of shoutouts as an afterthought. Instead, SD-2100 takes this trope and stretches it to its absurd limits, transforming Shoutout into one of the EP's lengthiest and most entertaining compositions.

I typically don't delve into cover art in my reviews, but in this case, it deserves special mention. Explosions, terminators, angel wings, a VW Polo, and a glorious photo of the man behind SD-2100, resplendent in sunglasses and proudly wearing an “I paused my game to be here” t-shirt. Are those trash bags in the background behind the explosion? And what is with the random green jewel? In the hands of anyone else, this seemingly chaotic mishmash of artwork might find itself relegated to one of those “bad album artwork” websites. However, when coupled with the actual music, it becomes something utterly remarkable. It fits the EP perfectly and speaks volumes about the ethos and quirky, witty approach of the EP. I absolutely love it.

In SD-2100 vs. the World, Sam Densem, under his rap persona, SD-2100, crafts an EP that doesn't take itself too seriously but excels in delivering pure, unadulterated fun. Through witty lyricism, playful narratives, and a knack for pushing the boundaries of humour, Densem showcases his versatility as an artist. With its vibrant energy and clever quirks, this EP is a delightful addition to his eclectic repertoire, proving that music can be both entertaining and thought-provoking. SD-2100 invites you to join the party, albeit a quite awkward party, and the result is a rollicking good time that's sure to leave a lasting impression.


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SD-2100 vs The World
Year: 2023
Type: EP

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