Quinton Barnes’ beats have been through a lot. They are responsible for the emotional navigation on For the Love of Drugs—splitting, melding with something new, peppering the vocals. Barnes’ writing, while energized, makes rare use of the abstract. It’s a rational choice to offer central authority to the beats and production, but this record would be doubly imposing if Quinton’s presence aligned with their energy. The disparity is crushing for now, but not inoperable for the next project. Like early formulations of great ideas, FTLOD is potent but uncalibrated. Barnes potential is glowingly evident on ‘Fuck Alive’—one of abstract hip-hop’s tracks of the year. There, the balance is perfect.
A favourite: ‘Fuck Alive’
‘For the Love of Drugs’ is out now via Grimalkin Records.