Created in Montreal, Two Fingers is a collaboration between a British synthesist and a Brazilian vocalist. The album they’ve created feels like a collision of the worlds each of the musicians inhabit, combining Afro-Brazilian attitude and funk with the cold futurism of British electronic music. While rap with a British accent has been tried before with mixed results, Two Fingers demonstrate a masterful sense of subtlety and nuance that rap on both sides of the pond lacks. The resulting self-titled debut is easily the best hip-hop record so far this year.
Rapper Amon Tabin’s lyrics are typical, with obligatory meditations on black social injustice and police brutality. They are, nonetheless, skillfully delivered. DJ Doubleclick is clearly a disciple of trip-hop, with drum loops and samples taken from all the usual suspects. He’s also, however, an internationalist, and his exploration of Eastern and African musical styles doesn’t feel like a gimmick. Highlights include “Jewels And Gems,” which offers a twist on the usual guns ‘n gangstaz drama—a banging dancehall drum machine loop paired with a slinky Indo-Pak melody paired.
Two Fingers is a highly experimental and original work, and it succeeds at combining the best aspects of experimental electronica and rap. It’s noisy and difficult to listen to at times, but its sophistication is hard to equal, and the enthusiasm with which the album tackles disparate genres of music is infectious. Two Fingers is a rare intellectual treat.