In 2012, Robbie “Apocalyptic” Carpenter, former member of the legendary OKC rap collective Exodus, released the 20-track underground masterpiece Literary, a collection of sanctified hip-hop that was as rapid-fire with the rhymes as much as he is on fire for his Lord and Savior.
It turns out it’s Carpenter’s mission to have the listener believe in both, a message he makes clear in his surprising recent release, the three-track The Wisdom Mixtape, Vol. 1. Like the best cuts of an album by A Tribe Called Quest, Apoc has crafted a beautifully produced, bite-sized taste of things to come that eschews typical beats and bumps in favor of a swirling jazz soundscape. But sadly, like all bites, it just leaves you wanting more.
Opener “Big Words (isms & ologies)” mingles over a hypnotic trumpet loop and shake-shake-shake percussion, spitting clever wordplays at Micro Machine speed, deconstructing total belief structures and schools of thought and then putting them back together again in a brilliant three minutes. It’s a perfect segue into the second cut, the short and sweet “eternal SONshine,” a total get-up and get-down take on Matthew 4:16-17 that inspires the heart as quickly as it fades out.
Finally, there is “From the Body of This Man (Mixtape Version)” that seems to be the entire purpose of this EP’s existence. It’s too bad that when that tune is over, so is the album, because the listener is left feeling that Apocalyptic has so much more to say.
Wisdom Mixtape Vol. 1 is available now at apocalyptic.bandcamp.com. — Louis Fowler