Atlanta rapper-producer Imp has released their new album Children of the Atom. The record is a grimy lo-fi offering of jazz-rap and boom-bap and includes production and features from Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, Kaffo the Sensei, Pyjign and Daniel Saylor.
Laid back in cadence but aggressive in tone, Children of the Atom takes inspiration from Imp’s X-Men obsessions and uses comic book fan-fiction as a vehicle for its principle narrator’s societal observations and personal anxieties. Stylistically, the record is carefully constructed as a melting pot of signature hip-hop sounds and a medley of instrumental flourishes inhabit the musical underbelly of each track.
Dusty drums and an unsettling saxophone decorate the frantic “Omega Level,” while “INfamous” is punctuated by haunting keys and an ominous bassline. At times, Imp’s outrage is channeled through both the lyrics and beats, a case best seen on “Giant Robot Week,” a vicious, warped-out verbal assault that borders on noise-hop.
These abstract compositions are accompanied by jazzy interludes fixed with movie snippets and politically-fueled banter, balancing out the chaos of the album’s disoriented outlook with a delicate, hazy touch. In a thematic sense, Imp’s socially-condemning and dread-filled dialogues are a testament to the scattered uncertainty of the current year. Tracks like “Iterant” detail the day-to-day struggle of trying to scrape by on your own in early adulthood with vulnerability and a genuine sense of paranoia.
Rather than arrive at any bold conclusions, Children of the Atom is an artifact of pure expression that follows its narrator on a quest in which they find assurance in both their identity and their voice.