August 23, 2021

Pumpkinhead "Orange Moon Over Brooklyn" (August 23, 2005)

Right from the start the album feels huge breathe of fresh air. The beats, provided by Canada’s Marco Polo and turntablist DP One, have an old school feel, complete with DJ scratches and voice samples. Pumpkinhead flows effortlessly and intensely at the same time, with lyrics that will have you rewinding the track. The album is a mixture of hilarious and serious commentary on subjects ranging from politics to the hip hop culture. Pumpkinhead has a charismatic style and rhymes with a passion. It’s enough to convince the listener that he absolutely believes in everything he says. It makes you want to just sit back and listen to what he has to say. But if you’re hoping to hear about guns, drugs, and women, then stop reading right now. Pumpkinhead doesn’t have time for all that. He’s got other issues to speak on, and that much is evident right from the start. In the albums second track, “Authentic”, Pumpkinhead lets you know, “This is hip hop music for your soul… Authentic hip hop music/ this is as good as it gets.” And expresses frustration; “Some places refuse to just play it / cuz I’m not rhyming about guns, drugs, and court cases.” “I Just Wanna Rhyme” is a great track that ends with one of the more humorous moments of the LP while doubling as a great commentary on the state of hip hop. After a track which features Supastition comes “Grenades”, undoubtedly one of the more powerful political tracks released this year. Pumpkinhead pulls no punches as he speaks on the military, Bush, taxes, and much more. “Give me a bulldozer/and before the world is over/ I’ll find Bush and his daddy and run both their asses over...."

The album continues with more heartfelt tracks, including “Rock On” which is basically a small biography which includes Pumpkinhead reminiscing about C-Rayz and Mobb Deep rapping and banging on tables in the lunchroom at his school. “Swordfish”, a more playful track, features an absolutely sick beat and has Pumpkinhead trading verses with Archrival. “Jukebox” is an excellent laid back track which features more top-notch storytelling. “The Best” is an uplifting track about the better things in life. The album concludes with “Anthem for the End of the World” perhaps one of the better tracks in recent memory. Jean Grae contributes two ridiculously good verses. “The sky’s crack open/ and the fire rains down/ with angles backs broken/ and black snow/ and a man in a black cloak/ and then everything goes black/ and everyone soon chokes and collapses slow.” - HipHopDX, 2005. It's important we revisit underground classics like Pumpkinhead's Orange Moon Over Brooklyn... it reminds me of great memories in independent NYC hip-hop, and the memory of our fallen friend, Pumpkinhead, who passed away far too soon in 2015. Rest In Peace, Robert Diaz.