January 13th, 2017 | Album reviews

Finna Be Past Tense
Stones Throw

K-town rap outsider The Koreatown Oddity is Dominique Purdy, known as much for head-spinning rhymes and beats as his work in stand-up comedy and screenwriting. His Stones Throw debut Finna Be Past Tense is as fitting as the artist’s name: a series of ruminations on the finite nature of existence, assisted by Vex Ruffin’s hazy yet hard-hitting production. Lead single “Yesterday’s News” is the mission statement, a welcome-to-the-real-world pep talk with a head-bobbing bed of sampledelia underneath. Lines like “My pops said we’re gonna die two deaths / he said ‘I ain’t tryna scare you, just want you to be prepared’” are illustrations of Purdy’s approach: dour and fatalistic, but with enough wit and brevity to get you reading back over his lyrics long after you wear out your tape. Ruffin’s beatmaking is a wonder in itself, sampling everything from Eddie Murphy on prehistoric opener “Land Before Time” to My Bloody Valentine on the blown-out “Meditative Thought”. Aside from collaborations with L.A. mainstays Ras G and MNDSGN, Purdy’s work has been largely self-produced and self-released, making Finna Be Past Tense something of a sea change for him. As his highest-profile and perhaps best record, it succeeds in introducing a new crowd to a true oddity—and a true original.

— Zach Bilson