Illslur is a producer/music enthusiast trapped in a trucker’s lifestyle. He prides himself on possessing a certain magic/power of sorts when it comes to putting together tunes. He is part of the Grand Cooley Mediation Squad collective and is not easily described or defined by typical standards. Towards the beginning of the year he released a beat tape titled, 25$Massage. The tape was constructed throughout the course of his various travels via set-ups established with items purchased in thrift stores and utilized in an array of hotel/motel rooms. Illslur himself describes it as a “Young trucker style collage in Hip-Hop road trip traveling mania.” The most striking note about the project though is the fact that it is available in cassette format. In this technological/digital day and age, that is pretty unusual. So does the tape’s content match up to it’s eccentric creator and unique back story? Click the break to find out.
25$Massage kicks off with a dramatic television based intro complete with interesting clips. From there, the first beat up is labeled “YeSire.” It is a drum heavy number with peculiar components, a mixture of background clips & vocals, a middle of the road rhythm, and a chill vibe. It’s definitely not a traditional Hip-Hop style piece but that’s what makes it work. It is a cool selection overall and a choice way to grab attention for the beginning of the project. “Bull Rider Breaks” is the another beat in the earlier half of the tape that stands out. It’s very short but still manages to leave it’s mark. The weighted foundation and deep musical ingredients have an enjoyable groove to them. Though on the simpler side, it is a site favorite for sure. As the tape transitions to the half way point, the listener will happen upon a track called “The W.” It starts off with an upbeat quirky singing clip. Once past the clip, the tone shifts to a darker context with a slow pace and intense elements. Midway through the cut, there is a climax of sorts where an almost alien like essence comes into play. The beat eventually progresses back to the way it began but ends with a quick and random clip of what seems like a Country style tune. All in all, it is one of the oddest works on the project. But it still has a certain charm about it. The end portion of the tape, holds gems such as the “Disney Crew” beat. It is comprised of a catchy hard hitting pattern laced with beautiful harmonious instrumentation and an entrancing vibe. It concludes on a bizarre level but that seems to the signature for the tape. Overall, it’s a great effort and another favorite. The finale for 25$Massage comes in the form of a track classified merely as “Fam.” It’s extremely short as it basically features a clip of someone saying ‘bye’ and then it cuts off. It was a precise way to finish the beat tape. However, a cooler approach would have been to do an outro that fed off of the intro a bit. This would have brought everything full circle and made things seem more complete.
**My Two Cents: 25$Massage is a very abstract beat tape. From the selected clips used to the actual sounds, the listener for sure won’t hear anything conventional or common place on this one. But that’s what makes it worth listening to. I feel the project definitely reflects Illslur and his one of a kind persona. I’d love to hear an artist put some lyrics and a hook to a couple of his beats. That would be something special for the Hip-Hop community. As a whole, 25$Massage ranks at a 3.5/5. Readers should consider giving it an ear when they have some spare time. For more with Illslur, be sure to explore those earlier provided links. -MinM