If Odd Future are to push American hip hop into a world of ultra violence and comic-book gangster swag, Chicago’s Serengeti is to pull it back to a place where the old school storytelling rhymes are laced with humour and cathartic self-referencing. He’s not doing it alone on this, his Anticon debut – the emo, lo-fi beats have come from Yoni Wolf of Why? and Owen Ashworth, aka Advance Base, or Casiotone For The Painfully Alone as he once was. Downbeat and crystaline, ‘Family & Friends’ is what happens when bros get in touch with their inner feelings (something that Ashworth has long been a master of), but not like when James Blake warbles to the fire crackle of post dub-step. Serengeti is much more fun than that, telling of TV commercial crushes while Wolf and Ashworth vocalise hooks for a perfect blend of hip-pop and warm electronica.

By Stuart Stubbs

Originally published in issue 30 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. July 2011.

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