The Medicine is a new record by the group Anonymous Jones, a trio of Reno rappers: Tsuyoshi “Yosh” Curtis, Chari “Knowledge” Smith and the ubiquitous Tony “Locus” Walker. All three rappers have great moments throughout the record, but Knowledge seems especially on point. She sounds, by turns, soulful and sensitive, and then tough and rugged.
It’s a diverse, well-organized record, with eclectic beats and varied approaches to the mic. A lot of the lyricism is introspective and personal, but presented with dynamic, block-rocking energy. It’s part of the current trend in hip-hop proving that the supposed schism between conscious rap and gangsta shit is a thing of the past. You can say smart stuff and also cuss a lot.
The wide range means, of course, that some songs work better than others—the upbeat bangers are generally more appealing than the mellow numbers. And, like a lot of hip-hop records, there are a couple of unnecessary skits, but more of the tracks hit than miss.
“Occupy,” the first proper song, is one of the best, with a taut and coiled beat, and agreeably anxious energy. “I’ve got one problem, and you got 99/And we ain’t comfortable no more riding the sideline,” raps Knowledge. The topical references immediately date the song to two years ago, but its energy is timeless.
Even better is “Throwing Up”: Over a beat that sounds like something off Watch The Throne, the rappers give funny, sly social commentary about binge drinking. And Knowledge somehow manages to make a chorus where she simulates vomiting into a memorable, catchy hook. The song also pulls off the great trick of having it both ways: the lyrics skew heavy drinkers, but at the same time, the energy of the track just makes you want to party.