It's hard to believe I was not privy to Paranoid Castle back in '04, since for some odd reason I was writing for a Canadian hip hop magazine at the time – and no, I'm not Canuckian. The cross country collaboration between the Bay Area's Kirby Dominant and Canada's Factor released One Way Ticket and then never followed up. Turns out, Kirby's appearance on Factor's Lawson Graham (a Best Release of June '10) record was the begining of a renewed studio friendship.
The duo are set to release Champagne Nightmares on Fake Four Records this month. The first single “Orca” takes an odd approach to self-esteem. Kirby Dominant has one thing correct: if he feels like a whale, then yes, he's at the top of the food chain. Factor's production on “Orca” is propulsary bliss over the boom bap drums that would make Q-tip squeal. Kirby's metaphor is puzzling considering it's not common to consider whales to be predatorial, but the classic DJ breakdown that scratches the phrase “fucked up” manages to make sense of Kirby's mania.
I'll be the first to say Paranoid Castle is not for everyone. But if you once wrote album reviews for a Canadian hip hop magazine in the early Aughts or were a fan of the underground sub-genre from America's hat in that era (maybe you bought a CD from Hiphopinfinity.com) this will remind you of those weird times when you knew all the words to Buck 65's “Centaur” and got excited about Moka Only records even though he had a new one every three weeks.
Champagne Nightmares is out August 30 on Fake Four.