It’s been over 3 years since the state of Connecticut’s most prominent emcee has dropped an album and much has changed for Apathy in that time: The man’s a father himself now and losing his own father has given him a new perspective. While his latest LP isn’t an outpouring of paternal grief in the same vein as Sadistik’s “Flowers for My Father”, it’s pretty clear how much his deceased father meant to him. With “Where the River Meets the Sea”, Apathy’s concepts appear to be aqua-related as the album is abundant with water references and metaphors. The majority of the album is self-produced and, even over the age of 40, Apathy still maintains a very respectable do-it-yourself aesthetic in his albums, one that’s missing from many mainstream albums.
The opening track, “Headwater”, is a collection of sampled voicemail messages (including one from his father) with the sound of water flowing in the background. The title track has a mellow vibe with the crooner named Bennett singing before Apathy drops his first of the album after over a minute into the track. The only track that qualifies as filler material is “The Ocean”, which contains samples from a lecture about the ocean itself. There’s a reliance on movie and audio samples that act as codas or beginnings on several tracks. Take “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”, for example. The track begins with a sample from an audiobook of the same name. The book is about the title character learning to push himself in life and his passions. The character being a seagull goes-hand-in-hand with the album’s water concept, while Ap goes in with braggadocio rhymes with some gems dropped in for good measure.
As stated, many of the tracks have a water connotation to them, including in the titles. “River of Light” contains a middle eastern sample with Apathy rapping about the location of his birth metaphorically. “A Rainy Day in Connecticut” is defined by its atmospheric boom-bap and the repeated line “I’m from where the fat beats stretch for mad blocks”. In the final verse, Ap raps in a double-time flow. Speaking of which, he does the same on the posse cut “Underwater”. Featuring ANoyd, Chris Webby, and Brevi on the hook, Apathy also laces a rapid beat that works well with the flows of both him and his guests. While Chris Webby comes close to killing everyone on the track, it’s Apathy who laid down the verse that made it impossible for him to become sonned on his own track:
No stranger to collaborations, Apathy usually keeps it restricted with emcees he’s closest to, like his fellow Demigodz brethren, but not here. The most surprising collaboration was on “P.S.E.”, with Styles P. and Lil’ Fame. Apathy put together a grimy, blues guitar-sampling beat for him and the rest to describe how copious their rap skills have been even back in the “public school era”. I liked Styles’ verse particularly in this track, with his references to Ken Patera and “Goodfellas”. The Teddy Roxpin-produced “Force Fields” is more shit-talking boom-bap featuring Pep Love & Tajai. Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the album’s first single. On “We Don’t Fuck Around”, Apathy raps over soul-sampling production with a Guru vocal sample scratched in the hook to drive his point home. This single is a prime example of the style that fans have come to love and expect from Apathy:
Stu Bangas gives an audio-immersive beat on “Mermaid Music”, complete with the sound of water bubbles and echoing snares as Apathy raps a narrative about him meeting a mermaid, which could be a metaphor for his first meeting with his significant other. “Remember the Night” has Apathy laying himself out in a vulnerable position for the listener. The longest track is “Dream Sequence” with its six-minute length. With its ethereal sound, Snak the Ripper provides Ap with an assist as they both rap about dreams that are too good to wake up from, but worth bringing into reality. “The Mouth” is the album’s closer and is really a movie dialogue sample which lasts under three minutes.
With Apathy’s seventh album “Where the River Meets the Sea,” there is a maturity on here that hasn’t been seen on his previous albums. Having his life-changing events on full display on this album is something of a release therapy for him, as well as the listener if they can relate to the words. Ap rapped on this album that “where the river meets the sea is where the past meets the future”, meaning he’s at a stage in his life where he’s come full circle like a mandala.