The gentle jazzy “Like a Dog” sees Otis Mensah at his most melodic. The second installment in season two of #OtisMensahExists brings Mensah questioning if changes in his personality are for better or worse. He drowns in the hurt like the howl of a dog.
Emcee, performer and poet laureate Otis Mensah is existing for his art, and in a world that commodifies self-expression, that’s an act of resistance.
Purely having the extent of the world available to him seems to overwhelm Mensah. “The Thinks” jumps from musing to musing over a dream-inducing instrumental. As a listener, you get the sensation of floating through his thoughts.
Otis Mensah returns with another eviscerating poem, this time spit over the guitar laden “No Record Store Day.” He directs the anxieties of his larger isolation at the cancelation Record Store Day, a day that usually holds a lot of happiness and excitement for Mensah.
We often think of poetry as written works with elegance and grace, but every so often a song comes around that reminds us how closely poetry and hip-hop are intwined. Otis Mensah returns with “Internet Cafe,” a jazzy lo-fi record with the elegance of poetry and the gritty soul of hip-hop.
Darkly honest, the ominous poetics of Otis Mensah and Hemlock Ernst creep up on the listener, slithering through the headphones until their hooks are in. The soft instrumental of “Breath of Life” is almost an afterthought, as if drums and brass were summoned by the rappers’ eviscerating flow.