Video game remixer, and chip hop artist out of San Francisco, A_Rival, has finally dropped his debut album to the masses. After some time in the making, 8-Bit Pimp is available via bandcamp in both digital as well as CD form starting at $10.
The album is full of high energy chip hop, touching on everything from Game Genies to girl troubles. The album kicks off with the fast paced Go For Broke which quickly establishes the complex chiptunery alongside A_Rival's fast paced rap style. This leads us into the autobiographical track A_Rival, which is one of the first tracks I heard from him nearly two years back, and is still an incredibly catchy track.
Cybernetic Mariachi I heard for the first time back in November 2008 at the first West Coast Wig Out. I have been waiting for a recording of this track ever since, and am very glad to see it on this release. An amazing fusion of latin guitar and swirlng chiptunes lay the foundation for a tale of a mercenary turned musician.
This leads us to an all too often realized conversation that many a game musician (and game music writers *ahem*) knows well. This conversation dives right into Show Me Girl. This track really speaks to the title of the album 8 Bit Pimp with the lyrical content and upbeat chiptunes. Slowing things down, we come to another track that I heard a few years back and also patiently waited for the release of, Push it Down. Lots of clever lines and a smooth R&B style beat make this a stand out track on the album.
Well known nerdcore rapper Random makes a guest appearance in the next track Circuitry, another smooth flow of rhymes that really benefits from both artists distinct verbal stylings. We come towards the end of the album, with the title track 8-Bit Pimp. This is an anthemic track, with a bouncing beat and catchy hooks.
We finally come to the end of the track with the slower, more glitched out, almost metal style Last Boss. This is another stand out track, that marks another direction that A_Rival is able to take his songwriting, with a darker tone and a heavy chorus. Not to mention the subject matter of a Game Genie using gamer.
As I ahve been saying throughout this short review, this album is incredibly catchy, and well worth investigating further for any fans of chiptunes, or nerdcore. You can listen to the entire album before buying as well via A_Rival's bandcamp page. You can also check him out live alongside Random, and others June 15th in Los Angeles, at West Coast Wigout 2.