Merrian-Webster defines beauty as “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.” By naming their collaborative EP Beautiful Art, Dillon Chase & Anatomē (pronounced anatomy) were treading on risky ground. But as the chords, melodies, cadences, and lyrics filled my garage converted studio, the validity of those words began to set in.
You may be already familiar with Texas native Dillon Chase from the 13 Letters Compilation or Sho Baraka’s Turn My Life Up; but teaming up with producer Anatomē takes this project to another level. Put simply: this album goes hard. The title track “Beautiful Art” sets the tone for the album, referencing the necessity of excellence in the art of rap while at the same time exhibiting truth in the righteousness of Who we represent. Anatomē flips DeBarge’s “All This Love” on this track, reinforcing the “beautiful” theme as Chase flows.
The title track “Beautiful Art” sets the tone for the album, referencing the necessity of excellence in the art of rap while at the same time exhibiting truth in the righteousness of Who we represent.
After falling into a grooved trance with “Beautiful Art,” the listener is immediately smacked in the head with 808’s, kicks, and drum rolls with “Wilderness” that combines strings with a daunting piano riff that serves as the canvas for this admonition to keep proclaiming the truth of Christ. Although to the world Christ is “anti-everything [they] stand by,” Chase promises he will continue to cry out to the world, even if “ain’t nobody listening.” “Die-Man” drips with that collard-green-with-the-ham-hock-cooking-on-the-stove funk, as Chase plays with the sonic resemblance of “die man” and “diamond”, stating that the only way for us to shine in Christ is to die to self. After chopping up Al Green’s “You Ought To Be With Me,” Anatomē steps from behind the boards and into the booth for a feature on “Play Your Position.” The track speaks of being humble and knowing where we stand in Christ, while avoiding the temptation to follow the praise and positions of man.
Although containing only six tracks, Beautiful Art is quite complete in providing engaging wordplay and an excellent variety production-wise. Anatomē really stands out as a producer. His sample selections, chord structures, and use of live instruments and other elements really set this album apart from what we normally experience in hip hop today. As Chase holds his own on this album, I hope that more artist continue to be comfortable stepping out of their normal safe zones and environments, stretching themselves beyond the presupposed limits of the art form. This collaboration is truly inspirational while also being just plain good ’ol music.
Although containing only six tracks, Beautiful Art is quite complete in providing engaging wordplay and an excellent variety production-wise.