Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Tears of Joy [10K, 2019] ***
  • The Weight of the World [10K, 2020] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Tears of Joy [10K, 2019]
Clotted samples and rapping more muttered than mumbled further thicken congested evocations of allusive confusion and literal mourning ("Memorial," "Stargazer Pt. 3") ***

The Weight of the World [10K, 2020]
Like his cross-continental ally Earl Sweatshirt, who adds a near-jaunty specificity to this album's very last verse, 22-year-old Anglo-New Yorker Michael Bonema is a depressive who sounds like one. Muttering thoughtful rhymes in a clotted, immersive, yet quite comprehensible flow, he favors beats that win you over, when they do, without so much as winking at catchy--the one that got my attention was the groan he folds in every six seconds until and after he finally starts rapping "Plans": "I'm a lover with regret, I never picked the hate/Askin' God to still protect you from my shitty ways." The death of his mother in London sparked his most recent and engaging album. But from this distance it sounds like the finality of that event inspired him to climb out of whatever hole he's been living in rather than digging it deeper. A-