Poignant meditations on trauma through hip-hop, reggaeton and dembow.
This sample-focused production style is exemplified by the LP's second track, "CLUB664B." The first four minutes are primarily composed of the chorus to "Calentura" by Yandel: "agárrame fuerte y no me sueltes" (hold me tight and don't let me go), accompanied by an echoing "dura dura dura" (harder harder harder). The reggaeton dembow fades in and out, sometimes disappearing entirely. "I wanted people to invest more in the lyrics of reggaeton rather than the rhythm," Duran explained in a recent interview about the album. Reggaeton's lyrics often relate stories of sexual conquest or desires for sweaty promiscuity, but when isolated they reveal a tender cry for closeness and intimacy.
"6 AM, 188st And Audobon," gives Nipsey Hussle's "Overtime (Mailbox Money)" a spacious treatment typical of the LP, stripping away the original's minimal trap snares and placing the a capella verses over gently crescendoing synth chords. "They don't know about them sleepless nights" echoes throughout, seemingly against a howling wind. The album's brooding air doubtlessly stems from its subject matter. Having spent significant time with the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota—13th Month refers to the lunar structure of the Lakota people's calendar—Duran set out to compose an intimate response to the experience.
There are still plenty of instances where percussion takes precedence over lyrics. "RARA," co-produced by AMAZONDOTCOM, consists of complex layered rhythms that bounce and hiss. It's a club-ready track for those times when the dance floor calls for a beat that's both ominous and addictive. "6's," featuring DJ NA, is another sinister track that, while sporting artfully textured production, is more straightforward and mixable than much of the rest of the album. And in terms of danceability, few tracks here are better than the second half of "Gravity Waves II," which has a loping reggaeton beat.
"Gravity Waves II"'s first half, though, makes the LP's concept devastatingly confrontational. It opens with a warbling verse from Biggie Smalls's "Suicidal Thoughts," then transitions to interview clips of indigenous residents. As they describe harrowing accounts of teen suicide and cultural erasure, the album acquires a journalistic weight. The sadness and anger of these testimonials is echoed in "DIABLOS," which samples lines from Biggie Smalls and 2Pac. "I'm drinkin' Hennessey, runnin' from my enemies / Will I live to be 23? / There's so much pain," is staggered over a Biggie Smalls line that goes: "Suckin' on her chest just to stop my fuckin' hunger / She don't even love me like she did when I was younger." Again, we hear a cry for help from an isolated subject.
Fri / 28 Dec 2018
01. 13th Month In 3 Movements
02. CLUB 664B
03. RARA feat. AMAZONDOTCOM
04. TU MUERE AQUI (INTRO)
05. DIABLOS feat. MC ALBERTICORD
06. QUEEN IVYSSS
07. Lento x Katana 1
08. 6 AM, 188st And Audubon
10. 6's feat. DJ NA
11. They Are Afraid Of Her
12. Gravity Waves II
13. 13th MONTH II In 3 Movements