Punk rocker/rapper P.O.S
. got the attention of indie hip-hop label Rhymesayers with his 2004 self-released Ipecac Neat
, and so his next album and Rhymesayers debut, Audition
, acts as not only a way to convince the label he belongs on their roster, but also as a greater introduction to the world outside the Twin Cities. His rock influences are abundantly clear, making themselves known in the heavy electric guitars and bass that are the background for much of the record, adding a nice element to the overall sound, a rich, full, yet somewhat messy beat that focuses as much on melody and chord changes as it does on rhythm, but there are plenty of hip-hop elements -- scratching, a hollow drum machine, synthesizers -- too. It's a very well-produced album, exciting and musical and intense. P.O.S.
's intensity is, in fact, the most striking aspect of Audition
, both in his delivery, which sounds disarmingly like Eminem
(via "Lose Yourself," "Stan," etc) and his often violent lyrics ("Paul Kersey to Jack Kimball" is about vendettas and "The Kill in Me" contains the creepy, half-sung chorus of "You can't cut surgically with a shaky hand/And honestly my nerves are shot again/Let me treat you like a doll and snap your neck in my hands"). P.O.S
. has a really good, fast flow, with interesting, provoking rhymes that don't come across as erudite or condescending ("Sometimes I feel like a bastard surrounded by fathers" he says in "Bush League Pysche-Out Stuff," one of the best tracks on the record, with a great spy movie-themed bassline acting as pretty much the only element in the beat), and the songs where he sticks to solely to rapping turn out a lot better than the ones in which he includes the kind of angry alternative rock singing found on Linkin Park
albums, which just makes him sound like he's trying too hard to be that rapper for punk kids. But P.O.S.
's appeal should be greater, because he's a talented, introspective, angry MC with a lot to say and a lot of ways to say it, and Audition
definitely proves this to anyone who may not have already known.