"Our Spilt Milk" looks at our favorite things this week, which also include "O.J.: Made in America" and Papa Pilar's rums.
After an undeniably strong 2015, Future's year got off to a weak start. He released a mixtape (Purple Reign) in January, and an album (Evol) in February, but they both seemed like replicas of his successful 2015 projects. Sufferers of Future fatigue will find little solace in Project E.T. Esco Terrestrial, which came out Friday. The title refers to the tape's executive producer and Future's long-time friend DJ Esco, whose tag "the coolest DJ in the world" can be heard on most of the rappers' catalog. Technically, the mixtape isn’t a Future project (his voice is noticeably absent from four of the 16 songs), but last year Esco released a similar tape, also hosted by Future, called 56 Nights, following his 56-day stint in a Dubai prison. Released during Future's hot streak, it featured some of his best music led by singles "March Madness" and "Trap Niggas." Like Future's other two projects this year, Project E.T. seems more like a continuation of 56 Nights than an effort at something new.
While four months may seem like a lifetime in the hyper-speed world of modern hip-hop, Future is 32 years old, and can't be expected to change up his entire sound on the drop of a hat like a younger artist could. And the new tape certainly has it's moments. "100it Racks" with Drake and 2 Chainz is sure to be a radio hit, and songs like "Who" with Young Thug and "Too Much Sauce" with Lil Uzi Vert are ear candy for anyone who enjoys trap music. But if Future wants to keep running the rap game the way he did last year, he'll need to step out of his comfort zone and try something a little different. (Raphael Helfand)
Phantogram’s new single “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore” is darker, heavier, and more urgent than the electronic duo’s previous work. It’s the first single off of Phantogram’s third studio album, aptly titled Three, which will be out this September in time for the band’s November 3 show at the Joy Theater. The band revealed in an interview with Pitchfork that the song and album are heavily colored by the loss of loved ones and musical idols throughout the creative process. The song bursts open with a rhythm like feet pounding the pavement, chasing after something slipping away and ready to put up a fight. Its disillusionment comes through in the title, and the lyrics convey the exhilaration of standing on the edge of madness. Sarah Barthel sings, “Walk with me to the end / stare with me into the abyss / do you feel like letting go? / I wonder how far down it is,” inviting listeners to succumb to recklessness while they can still get some thrills from it. Despite that, the song is about beating back emptiness, standing tall and defiant in the face of a crumbling world. (Nicole Cohen)
O.J.: Made in America deserves all the accolades it has received. It's still streaming on ESPN's website, the ESPN app, and ESPN's streaming channel on Roku, and bitter ironies thread through the five part, seven and a half hour-long documentary, chief among them being that African Americans had O.J.’s back in a way that he rarely had theirs. The first episode is valuable in that it reminds viewers of the talent that made Simpson a star in the first place, and the last is remarkable as it shows how far he fell. The guy who once palled around with the heads of Fortune 500 companies acted out gangsta fantasies with strippers and wannabe tough guys in South Florida. In between, accounts of the trial put it in a new light.
The moment that stays with me came when a member of the LAPD talked with surprise about how the cops were perceived as racist after the Rodney King beating. The video shows now as it did then that the cops kept beating King not only past the point when King was any danger of fleeing, but to the point when the police officers involved are obviously arm-tired from clubbing him with night sticks, and leg-weary from kicking him. The moment stands out because it echoes events of the past year, not only in shameful acts of violence by the police toward African Americans that remain as unpunished now as they were then, but because the officers in question seem equally confused and outraged at being called racists. The disconnect—and in the documentary, it looks like this particular officer genuinely doesn’t get it and not like he’s lying—suggests that there’s more to know about the psychology of racism, particularly how the racist separates attitudes and actions. (Alex Rawls)
Finally, with the Fourth of July Weekend coming up and Tales of the Cocktail less than a month away, I have booze on my mind. Papa’s Pilar rums are now available in Louisiana, and both are charmingly eccentric. The name comes from Ernest Hemingway’s nickname and his boat, and if the rums reflect him in any way, it’s perhaps because he liked his rum sweet. The blonde rum has a very pronounced vanilla finish, while Papa’s Pilar 24 Dark Rum has an element of that with notes of cola that remain from first sip to the aftertaste. Citrus keeps that from being oppressive, and it helps that both liquors are surprisingly light. It’s hard to imagine simply sipping either, but perhaps because of their curious natures, both remain interesting in simple mixed drinks. (Alex Rawls)