P.O.S. We Don’t Even Live Here
Less than 20 seconds into We Don’t Even Live Here, on the slow-building, snare-hit “Bumper,” P.O.S. flouts the title of his last solo album, Never Better: “Let’s skip ahead to the next / Pushin’ my own limits / I make it better.” He’s not lying. We Don’t Even Live Here is a solid, confident step forward for the Minneapolis rapper, taking his confrontational punk-rap style and injecting it with a dark, danceable energy that sacrifices none of his signature hardcore edge. P.O.S. never averts his sharp, critical gaze as he raps about society, culture, and rap from the fringes, with teeth bared and fists clenched; “I constantly recommend a little bit of disdain, a little bit of resistance,” he spits on the intensely, aggressively seething “Lockpicks, Knives, Bricks And Bats.”
But P.O.S. is no mere scold; We Don’t Even Live Here is extraordinarily accessible and somehow even agreeable in its controlled rage, the soundtrack to an anarchic end-of-the-world party that listeners can only hope they’re outsider enough to attend. On the title track, P.O.S. boasts that he’s “in the back getting weird with my weird friends” over an intoxicating, glitchy Boyz Noize beat that makes it hard to imagine anyone would want to be in the front, away from his “weird shit.” With “Get Down,” P.O.S. and his Doomtree collective associate Mike Mictlan turn in a giddy party-starter that still maintains the album’s sense of urgent unrest, tossing up a resigned, “Shit’s burnin’ to the ground / I don’t wanna think about it I just wanna get down” that spikes into a stuttering, siren-bedecked hook that demands explosive bouncing. The standout “Fuck Your Stuff” illustrates the best synthesis of the album’s combination of radicalism and revelry, with P.O.S. waxing anti-materialistic and taunting hip-hop convention over a meaty, soulful beat from Doomtree’s not-so-secret weapon, Lazerbeak. Even the relatively restrained (and gorgeous) “Where We Land,” which features haunting vocals from Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, feels driven and purposeful to the last second. Though the album’s midpoint gets a little bogged down in barrages of fiery fury, P.O.S.’ energy never flags, and the robust production—courtesy of Andrew Dawson, Kanye West’s go-to engineer and P.O.S.’ high-school friend—keeps pace. We Don’t Even Live Here never sounds anything less than meaningful, yet manages to evade sounding self-important or overworked. P.O.S. has indeed never been better.