Of course, sullen doesn’t necessarily mean slow or boring. The opening verse on the track “Lazarus” has this incredible flow that leaves you out of breath the first time you hear it. “Lazarus” is also the track where Foster flexes his reference game, name dropping visual artist Alex Pardee, Joseph AND Cormac McCarthy and the main villain from Japanese horror movie Audition. Overall, “Lazarus” serves as one of the best tracks on the album and it’s worth a 2nd, 3rd, or 10th listen to.
It’s already been touched on, but Elysium takes advantage of some really fantastic samples. Besides ‘Wanting to Die’ in the opening track, we get some great audio from the timeless ‘Cowboy Bebop’ on “Rainbow Road”, a piece that explores the feelings and confusion that come from a supreme unhappiness in life, but being hesitant to do anything about it. Lyrically, the song explores looking back at the life you’ve lived and trying to determine if you’re truly happy with where you are now. It’s a poignant glimpse into Foster’s psyche as he reflects on what has gotten him to this point in his life.
The final track on the album, “All the Pretty Horses” is another nod to novelist Cormac McCarthy who is clearly one of Foster’s favorites. There are a number of similarities, I think, between McCarthy and Foster. They both use their work to explore themes of violence, depression, and hopelessness. However, unlike the McCarthy’s novels, Elysium leaves the listener with a feeling of hope, somehow. With a sense of “this person is going through the same things I am and feels the same things I feel.” Through his music, Foster presents a mature and grounded take on mental health and mortality that is so often hard to find in music in general, let alone hip-hop.
Elysium is one of Sadistik’s best projects yet and has only served to get me hyped for his next release.