Having been first exposed to Big Lo on the incredibly long titled “The Amazing Luxurious Adventures of Baron Von Lowenstein Esquire III” I was both looking forward to his next adventure and hoping the album’s name would be a little easier to type! Thankfully “Wunderland Apokalypse” delivers on that unstated request although the intentional misspellings still present their own challenge (turn your autocorrect the f–k off). The biggest surprise here was just how short “Apokalypse” is. By comparison the theatrical release of “Apocalypse Now” is 8.5 times long. Don’t start playing this album and take a bathroom break, fix a sandwich and make some popcorn. Before the final kernel is salted and buttered the entire album will be over. I’ve waited in lines to get into a club for a rap concert longer than this release.
The good news is that Big Lo makes up for quantity with quality. Cuts are provided by DJ A to the L throughout, and the production on the songs evokes the pleasant feeling of an Action Bronson mixtape before he went quasi-mainstream. One thing they don’t have in common though is the vocal tone. Bronson got both fairly and unfairly compared to Ghostface, while the deep and rich vocals of Lo are mixture of Evidence and Oh No. On “Green Balloon” he shows off his sense of humor and his “whiskey tongue” over a beat produced by V. Kush. “Ay, spit live for the dimwitted/my wife hates my raps but I love her big titties yo/I’m one of them rappers who really rap/smoke break during you Milli Vanilli acts.”
There are so many different producers on “Wunderland” that calling it “consistent” would be a mistake unless you meant “consistently pleasant.” The songs don’t have a unified theme other than indie rap, but the quality of those beats and Big Lo’s delivery carry it through. One thing Lo might actually have in common with Bronson is an obsession with food, reflected in song titles like “Carpaccio” and “Breakfast In Dubai,” but as good as those are I can equally recommend “The Lux (Double Down).” The “most morbidest tale” that Lo tells seems to be a stream of consciousness flow with a loose tie to gambling, but in the end he still ties it back to food with the words “fire up the grill cause we all gon’ eat.”
One thing I don’t recommend consuming is a “Firecracker Popsicle” though – no matter how delicious it is you might blow the back of your throat out. Once again I feel a food theme creeping in to Lo’s flow unintetionally or otherwise as he puts “bolognese to the noodles” but he’s also “the scholar, the conversational rap writer that spits watercolors” so it all balances out over the Cyborganics beats.
Making a recommendation on something as short as “Wunderland Apokalypse” is a bit odd because it retails for $7.92 on Amazon, or at a more reasonable five dollar minimum on Bandcamp. I think I can argue that it’s worth fiver, but I’d encourage you to listen to the samples first and decide if Big Lo is your style of emcee. The beats, rhymes and production are up to par, but he can drift toward a single vocal tone which makes changes of inflection more subtle to the ear. If you’re not a fan of late great rappers like Guru and Prodigy then “Wunderland Apokalypse” might not be for you, but this short feature before the main presentation suits me fine.