- Humble Among, Fear of a Wack Planet
Humble Among is a rapper who proudly represents Bellows Falls. That's a sentence I never thought I would live to write, but it's true. He's been on the margins of the Vermont hip-hop scene for a long time and in recent years has grown into a prolific contributor and ardent supporter, one of those human hubs who makes a "scene" possible.
Deeply rooted in Juggalo and horrorcore culture, Humble Among's style is not a pedigree shared by many artists around these parts. He's best known for his "Halloween Tape" series, which started as a fun, one-off thematic EP in 2018 and grew into a monster of a concept album the next year. Presumably, he's gearing up for another October release this year to complete the trilogy, but his latest, Fear of a Wack Planet, is his most evolved and refined creation to date.
Humble Among has never been one to rap about rapping. All of his songs, whether caustic autobiography or nightmare narrative, are focused art. On this new surprise LP, he lets his cinematic imagination run absolutely wild, crafting a roller coaster of an apocalypse for your speakers. There's nothing frivolous about it, either: This is an urgent, timely album, touching on climate change, resource wars and collapsing cities. Also, aliens.
Fear of a Wack Planet is a predominantly locavore effort. The 802 Renaissance man THEN WHAt handles the bulk of the production, with some strong assists from horrorcore legend Bad Mind. There are local features in the mix, too. Humble Among's hometown protégé Kasuke drops bleak bars for "Toxic Waste." And the impeccable Raw Deff delivers another knockout 16 on "Anxious," an ode to making peace with mental illness.
Then there's Doc C of Rhythm Ruckus, an unsung Windsor County hip-hop duo who were a big influence on Humble Among, as well as about a hundred other local rap acts. They're long since retired, but Doc C has been getting back in the booth lately. Here, he joins our protagonist for "Thin Blue Line," a gleefully offensive storytelling song about killing police.
Fear of a Wack Planet represents some serious artistic growth. Humble Among has never sounded more confident on the mic and, track after track, these are some of the strongest songs he's ever written. Which is not to say he's broadening his mass appeal. Calling an album like this "dark" is a joke — this is genocidal nihilism over thumping synth beats.
That said, it's also extremely well done. The mixing and mastering, handled by Bad Mind, are impressively smooth. Yet what really makes this project pop is the artistic vision. Humble Among has a deadpan, almost quavering delivery, but after years of home studio experimentation, he's honed that into something truly compelling.
So, for subgenre aficionados or curious listeners of any persuasion, Fear of a Wack Planet is strongly recommended. This is the best possible introduction to one of Vermont's most distinctive MCs.
Fear of a Wack Planet is available at humbleamong.bandcamp.com.