Each Monday, Beats & Rhymes highlights a new and notable hip-hop, rap, DJ, or electronic record that embraces independent sensibilities.
DC the MIDI Alien: “National Threat”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/DC_the_MIDI_Alien_National_Threat.mp3|titles=DC the MIDI Alien: “National Threat”]
During his 10 years of deejaying, DC the MIDI Alien has racked up an impressive résumé. He’s worked with Immortal Technique, AZ, and Wordsworth as well as remixed Nas and others. In 2008, he formed the group East Coast Avengers with MCs Esoteric and trademarc, and their gritty, politically charged debut Prison Planet garnered them national media attention with its lead single, “Kill Bill O’Reilly.” DC returns this February with a semi-solo LP, Avengers Airwaves, which further cements him as a force to be reckoned with in the hip-hop world.
DC produces the record and brings in a gaggle of rappers to provide the rhymes — from his East Coast Avengers bandmates to Jedi Mind Tricks’ Vinnie Paz and DJ Premier acolyte Termanology. DC’s production style is decidedly old-school: the songs are built on steady, mid-tempo drum beats with only a few looped samples. Standout track “Man Made Ways” exemplifies DC’s old-school skill — an echoing, droning organ loop creates an atmosphere of paranoia and foreboding, punctuated by bursts of loud, crunching guitar. The production doesn’t falter throughout, recalling early RZA with DC’s ability to create maximum effect with minimalist beats. Although DC doesn’t speak a word on the record aside from skits, the album has every right to bear his name on the cover.