For an old school hip-hop head, the word Gore-Tex immediately brings to mind the image of a rugged, durable boot. While they may have never reached the height of popularity that a good pair of Timberland stompers or that of the relative new jack Lugz, they made enough of an impact to be immortalized in song by Sir Mix-a-Lot. Considering his only other product endorsement was the Ferrari Testarossa, that’s pretty good company to be in.

These days though, Goretex is more likely to bring to mind an ill rhyme artist who hails from the Non Phixion clique. The first time I heard his voice on “I Shot Reagan” he made a strong and immediate impression on me as an MC. The vocal tone was a dusty mixture of Pete Nice and El-P, settling pleasantly between the two. The delivery was crisp, and the lyrical technique definitely eschewed traditional rhyme style in favor of being more impactful. Combined with an obvious intelligence and a definite “fuck you assholes” attitude, his verse in the song instantly made him a hip-hop artist to stay on the lookout for:

“Super secret surveillance assailants, Hebrews in Kansas
Wrap you up in bandage, mummified stitch weapons I brandish
Like trucks and bum, coffins airtight, mucus in vessels
Russian Roulette with bloody headbands, Christopher Walken type
A +Deerhunter+, parts unknown, rockin the jeweled throne
like Solomon, I killed your congressman with two stones
Best in the fuckin country, Israeli camou’ dressed bummy
Ghetto guerillas, religious cats be thinkin Muncie
My solar sect stretch throughout rocks like Stan Goetz
and my vestibule bang on my chest from bad sess
Come and challenge or battle, get skull-fucked, but don’t be sore
God ultimately saves those whose motive is pure”

While Ill Bill may get more of his share of the spotlight due to his comedic timing and relationship to Necro, and Sabac may have more of a cult-following, it’s the work of Goretex that could best be called the glue holding Non Phixion together. As such it’s a unique treat to hear him have his own platform on “The Art of Dying,” a solo album where Goretex can unleash his verbal wrath any way he sees fit unfettered by the group concept. And just as Goretex was the glue for his group, Necro is the cement which not only keeps “The Art of Dying” together but makes the tracks hard as bricks. There are no guest producers on this album, and with Necro behind the boards you don’t really need any. The two get off to a hot start on the eerie and symphonic title track:

“Blocks of free cheese, Becky sold her crib for coke
Slept with the baby and crushed her ribs in the middle of smoke
Close encounters, pedophiles in schools posin as janitors
Background checks where they connected the death tolls from Canada
Acura shootouts under my windows filled with passengers
Throwbacks splattered with brains, zipped them up with no bandages
Anybody gets it, somebody wetted JMJ
No respect for his craft, shot in his face, laughed and they ran away
Too many massacres, too many babies pass away
I’m only blastin to comfort you humans in the last days”

Goretex’ raps often have a dark undercurrent to them with or without the melancholy maestro of music Necro on the beats. Put it this way – you’re not going to hear a lot of happy sunshine rap about pretty girls with big butts and nice cars with expensive rims. There’s a lot of gore in Goretex, and it’s not on the hollow superficial shock value level that is sometimes found in raps by Cage. Goretex music as a result seems to be therapeutic for both himself and the listener, opening up the mind and releasing inner demons through beats and rhymes. Just peep out “Celebrity Roast,” where Goretex exorcises his overwhelming frustation with the banality of pop culture:

“Britney gets injections in her cheeks, I’m like Woody Harrelson
Pounds of trees, Celebrity roast, I’m like Howie on speed
Ashley Judd our caps thick
Christina Aguilera’s a hater, it’s cool – she only suck black dick
Levay got Jane beheaded, Son of Sam loves Zeppelin
Manson ran with the Beach Boys, brought his heaters and medicine
Pete Townsend: internet pedophile and queer
Michael’s been buggin, fuckin these boys for twenty-two years
Givin ’em wine, so get away with blood and tango
O.J.’s still up in clubs lookin for blondes to strangle
John Candy: poisioned, Andy Gibb was infected
Marilyn weighed a buck seventy, Dahmer’s fridge was protected
Bobby turnin Whitney out, Janet’s titty was flooded
Lil’ Kim is a disease, Keanu Reeves’ got a husband
Walk through walls like David Blaine, I’m ballin in Maryland
Like Macy Gray at the Grammy’s, come out zapped on heroin”

Shocking? Maybe. Funny? Absolutely. Goretex freely mixes known facts with urban lore, probably inventing some of his own shit at the same time, but he definitely gives voice to the ideas a lot of us already had in our heads. You also get a sense of Goretex’ worldview in that he sees a lot of what goes on as a conspiracy that is wrapped around us by an unseen hand. True or not, it’s thought provoking shit. The pleasantly simple beat and melody found in “Born of Fire” only make it that much easier for Goretex to get profound, pervese and braggadocious all at the same time:

“It never mattered when people died, I was told to manage
Emotion frozen, bein poor with no matress
Survivin the madness, three baby moms in Paris
All well travelled these actresses the drama queens and addicts
The backstabbers, YEAP, bitches are psychic vampires
Flippin on Xanax, shit magnets, I’m high on fire
Seekin the truth, my congressman I’m eager to shoot
Cinder blocks rock your dough if the reason is loot
Season to flip, get the four-fifth, sick as the whole clique
In Amsterdam, don’t window shop, I bought the whole strip”

From the hard rock hip-hop of “Blessed Are the Sick” featuring Necro, to the menacing violins of “The Virtual Goat” featuring Ill Bill, to straight up bugged out tracks like “Extreme Makeover” and “Momentary Lapse of Reason” this album provides the butter, although for those unaccustomed to the flavor it may seem a little rancid. There are a couple of dissapointments though, and they are small but noteworthy. First factoid is that although the album is 19 tracks long, it only clocks in at 46 minutes, meaning some of the songs are quite short and many others aren’t even raps but short instrumental filler cuts. Second factoid is that although Necro does fine work here, he doesn’t reach the same level of dopeness as he did producing “Sabacolypse,” although considering he almost singlehandedly carries the Psycho+Logical Records torch it’s understandable if he can’t turn in a gem every single time. Still with Goretex on the mic, he can carry a song even if it slacks musically, which makes “The Art of Dying” an ill, dark, and definitely underrated album.

Goretex :: The Art of Dying
7.5Overall Score