The names associated with Serengeti’s latest will have any underground hip hop/Anticon nut dribbling. Produced in Odd Nosdam’s cottage studio, Odd mixed the record and co-produced the beats with Anticon’s Jel (who Serengeti was staying with at the time: his couch is on the front cover), while Why?’s Yoni Wolf co-produces and features on the track Geti Life. You get just what you’d expect from this mash of minds; C.A.R. is an underbelly record, considered and carefree, messy as hell, industrial and alive. The record takes on some seriously old school sensibilities, with extensive scratching from Jel and classic sampling.
On the last Serengeti record – Family and Friends – the tracks dealt mostly with lying, cheating, expectations, and missed chances. This release takes on the same themes, but seems less reflective and more tied up in the music. This could be because the beats on C.A.R. are more lively and involved. It is harder to distinguish whether there are any performed characters here like on previous Serengeti releases. He is seemingly exploring concepts without the middle man of a character role.
This record humourously explores the many misjudgements and misdemeanors of the average Joe. Talk to Me is a great example, with cheating, lying and stealing presented next to character names like vital statistics. Go Dancin and Cold are closer to Serengeti’s last release and heartbreaking at times, displaying the matter of fact vulnerability and easy honesty of Serengeti’s voice, taking on some of his previous themes of disappointment and regret. Serengeti perfectly describes ‘The weight of giving up the dream’.
Sympathy for the inadequate human being, the failing and the failed, the not quite grown men, these are all ideas that make Serengeti a stand out artist. It is so alien to see a performer understand the urgent emotion that can come with stagnation in ordinary life and it is for this reason he is so vital in underground hip hop today.