A 25-track compilation of unreleased songs, alternate edits, and remixes, Fly Casualties surveys the past five years of Boston emcee Esoteric's career. With Eso handling four-fifths of the production himself (with supplemental beatwork from partner 7L, East Coast Avengers collaborator DC the MIDI Alien, DJ Opal, and Random) Fly Casualties stands as a cohesive work-- a sonic pastiche as futuristic as it is nostalgic, that ventures into unusual sample territory with plenty of electro, new wave, and industrial sources. Of course, this should come as no surprise to listeners familiar with Esoteric's body of work. After all, this is a rapper who made an entire project rhyming over beats built solely on Gary Numan's catalog. On the lyrical front, "the Eso-Pterodactyl" comes in with his trademark space age B-Boy rhymes, often looking to the past for inspiration. On "1989 (Rap Version)," he sends a love letter to the true-school era, name-checking a plethora of his favorite groups over a sample from the Spizz Oil single of the same name, while "Vinyl's Dead" laments the contemporary DJ's preference for MP3s. Later on, Eso reworks De La Soul's classic "Potholes in My Lawn" with the clever "You Ain't Hip," crafts a hipster-hop anthem over a distinctive Le Tigre loop on "Waxing on Deception," and borrows from Gang of Four on the relationship-drama-themed "Time with My Girl" featuring female rapper K. Flay.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Rinaldi
feat: East Coast Avengers
feat: King Magnetic
feat: Jawn P.