With modern home recording technology and this thing we call the Internet, it’s entirely possible to write, record, and release a full-length album in the span of a long weekend. Whip up a few songs, track them on GarageBand, upload them to Soundcloud or Bandcamp, and you’re good to go. Then there’s the approach favored by the more meticulous-minded, those who aren’t content to crank out something potentially half-assed and who spend years crafting and fine-tuning their creations into spit-polished works of art. Put Milwaukee rapper D’Amato in that latter category.
For the past two years, when he wasn’t busy playing around town or providing guest vocals on Airo Kwil’s Dark Cinema album, D’Amato was nailing down the 13 tracks of his debut album, Counterfeit Paradise. That record will finally be released July 21 on cassette and all online music platforms by impeccable Milwaukee label Gloss Records, and if the first single, “BPA Free,” is any indication, it’s going to be the album of the summer.
Musically, “BPA Free” finds D’Amato melding elements of old-school funk, ’90s rap, and modern hip-hop to create a brisk, feel-good vibe that sounds both reverent and forward-thinking. (Like the rest of Counterfeit Paradise, the track features D’Amato assuming most of the guitar, bass, and saxophone duties.) Lyrically, the rapper covers a lot of ground in four minutes: letting one’s freak flag fly, the emptiness of social media, the promise and disappointment of humanity, messiah complexes, love, death, and ugly tattoos. “So I logged on to Facebook and friended both Jesus and Satan / To focus on the human relations I’m creatin’,” goes one memorable line. “Let’s love one another / L-O-V-E / Let’s suck each other’s dicks and lick each other’s clits simultaneously,” goes another. (Oh, NSFW.)
“BPA Free” isn’t exactly new—it was self-released back in 2013, when Counterfeit Paradise was expected to drop that fall—but it’s as good a time as any to re-familiarize yourself with its timeless sound. D’Amato’s release show for the record is scheduled for Saturday, July 25 at Mad Planet. Rio Turbo will play in support, and the show will end with an MC “super set” featuring WebsterX, Lorde Fredd33, Airo Kwil, and Queen Tut.