I’ve been infatuated with Sensational since I first heard him bust some rhymes on Ghostigital’s In Cod We Trust about five or six years ago. His flow is like nothing I’ve heard before or since, a sort of stream of consciousness wrapped in a haze of weed smoke, with some trippy beats that are more trip hop than hip hop.
We pick up his CDs whenever we find them, which frankly isn’t all that often. To be fair, I rarely find myself in a hip hop speciality store… but Sensational wasn’t getting a lot of gold records either. I hear you may even be able to still buy CD-Rs from him on the streets of New York City. He’s faced homelessness and addiction, but he’s still pursuing his personal, singular musical vision. You should check out the documentary on him – The Rise and Fall of Sensational. It’s an amazing look at the man, his life, and his art.
I finally found a copy of one of his albums on vinyl about a month ago over at Amoeba Music – 2000s Heavyweigther. All the classic Sensational topics are covered in his rhymes – blunts, money, the awesomeness of Sensational, and more blunts. The songs feel a bit short to me – with 15 tracks on the album, almost all of them come in at around three minutes apiece. Just when I’m getting into Sensational’s flow the song comes to an end. I probably got spoiled in that the first of his “albums” I heard was actually a mix, DJ KLos Presents: The Best of Sensational, which basically takes 30 songs and makes them into one long, amazing track. DJ KLos does a fantastic job of capturing Sensational’s flow style and keeping with it as the rapper transitions from piece to piece.
“Paper Chase” is the big winner here, with it’s catchy “chorus” (This is dedicated to the paper chase… This is dedicated to the paper chase…) and quick rhymes. On “For the Playa Haterz” Sensational takes his voice up to a high pitch on the “playa haterz” part of the rhyme that is both a dig a the haters and pretty damn funny at the same time, showing that he’s got a sense of humor. “Every Freak Desire” rounds out my Heavyweighter Top 3, with a more techno musical approach and a catchy refrain.
You can find Heavyweighter on iTunes, with some pretty healthy 90 second clips of most of the songs, so you can check it out there to get the flavor of Sensational.