The annual Adult Swim Singles series has yielded several weighty additions from artists keen to impress the nerds with the power to grant them their own animated show and lucrative merchandise. New York’s billy woods and LA’s The Koreatown Oddity have made a Stateside connection for their introduction to the canon and first ever collaboration, and the pair of illustrious underground legends take their blunted, cavernous sound and kick an extension through the back wall on “NFT.” Like much of the content on Adult Swim, accessibility is not a key concern here. If it takes a few listens to cut through the humming industrial fuzz surrounding the dense, labyrinthine wordplay, that’s just one of those things.
Though the track title instilled an initial fear ofpromoting another digital selling format I have no desire to understand, this is thankfully not the case and merely refers to a bar in the song meditating on the temporal nature of life. The beat, produced by Steel Tipped Dove, focuses on the juxtaposition between dreamy, psychedelic synths and the primal, unforgiving drums which dominate the proceedings and ensure that any comfort the listener may feel will forever be fleeting. The Koreatown Oddity is up first and demonstrates the dexterity and oddball humour fast becoming his calling card. He skids erratically through mystical musings on natural connections and pre-destiny and ends up slap bang on a seemingly unrelated but thematically inseparable Nardwuar anecdote. “One time at the airport, I saw this ni**a Narduwar/Looking more exhausted than a brand new mom/But still, pulled out a smile when the cameras was on.”
billy woods is one half of the similarly challenging Armand Hammer and his prose on “NFT” is so dense you have to fight through it to be able to see the fog. His assertion that “Time never gives, only takes” is a delightfully whimsical take on the blights of history and his lines, while unrelentingly bleak, are so beautifully crafted that a new sense of optimism is created, before being unceremoniously crushed two bars later. “It's no proxy, casino, that's the best I can explain/Wheel spin fast, then slow, the dice shake, then roll/Take the green and gold, hands delt till you fold/All the ice in the world can't make this cheap liquor cold.”
“NFT” also serves as a preview to Steel Tipped Dove’s upcoming album, Call Me When You’re Outside, which could well feature more claustrophobic, off-kilter fun. In the meantime, we can all petition for an Adult Swim cartoon featuring billy woods solving brutal back-wood murders with the aid of a portentous crow. Listen to "NFT" here.