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Default Universe – “CHASUI” (Album Review)

Default Universe is a rap duo that thrives on carving their own path and experimenting with their sound however they want. “CHASUI” is no different, finding heavy inspiration in the Japanese Ero Guro art movement and Pinkeiga film genre to create a very unique album.

To start, the overarching themes of “CHASUI” are sex and horror blended together, but that doesn’t mean it takes the same tone or style as the earlier Slim Shady albums. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. If you aren’t really paying attention to the lyrics, you might not even realize what it’s really about, and that’s thanks to the well crafted production, coupled by a largely monotone vocal performance. It doesn’t come off as even remotely sinister at first, instead meandering somewhere in the territory of sleepy or lethargic. To me, that’s what makes this album so intriguing.
The production isn’t perfect, but every single bit of it was done with intention. The only issues I have are with the balance of some interludes that loop a very loud and filtered, choppy synth. It’s just a bit too harsh to listen to repeatedly. Other than that, it’s stellar. The love that was poured into each beat is evident right from the beginning as they’re all extremely detailed and full. The mellow, LoFi-esque nature of the project creates a certain atmosphere that completely contradicts the lyrics if you were to read them out loud with no accompanying soundtrack, and it’s almost ironic how attention grabbing it is.
Speaking of the lyrics, I’m not really sure how to judge them. They’re just so off the wall and raunchy that I don’t know what to take seriously and what not to. However, I am pretty confident that the point is more so how the lines are presented rather than what their content is. As I stated earlier, the delivery form Default Universe is extremely monotone and flat, almost as if they’re entirely numb to their surroundings. There is so little interest and emotion going into their words, but it aligns itself with the instrumentals nicely and I firmly believe that it’s a very intentional stylistic choice. Listening to someone describe the way they use another person’s brain matter as a lubricant with no emotional conviction in any way is what makes this album simultaneously horrifying, but also kind of interesting. The lackadaisical way every grotesque bit of imagery is relayed to the listener makes it almost feel like what we’re listening to are the deranged ramblings of a quiet sociopath as he recounts his previous encounters that landed him in a rubber room and straitjacket.
This album is definitely not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t artistic or Hip Hop at it’s core. It’s just very different than what most people are accustomed to. Give it a listen and decide for yourself.
Rating: 7/10
Highlights: Production, Delivery, Style
Follow one half of Default Universe on IG


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