Reviewed by Kahron Spearman, Fri., June 3, 2016
Veteran MC Adam Protextor, now going by his surname, makes some of Austin's more thoughtful, slightly off-kilter alt-rap. The Iowa native has mastered his version of the singsong flow, with its unique herk and jerk. He's a gifted lyricist, vice-gripping words and emotion into each bar. On Shift, he covers a lot of somewhat uneven ground with heady, conversational, often comical rap. The wordsmith dips into the observational on the jazzy "People in Your Neighborhood" and service-industry ode "The Help." Paranoia of the Man's omnipresence sets in on the KB the Boo Bonic-assisted "They Watchin'," and standout "Third Coast Rising" mid-tempos a thumper reminiscent of Massive Attack, featuring Subkulture Patriots' Cap'n Kirk, who spits disrespectful bars: "Most of these rappers ain't got none/ That's why they stayin' a convent/ Rappin' nonsense for profit." Protextor makes creative use of trap, delving into BDSM on "Marks," a fun, sex-positive trip. Best offering, dark anti-police burner "Heatstroke" blends fattened bass with a blackened and undulating Beach Boys sample throughout. There's an economical, no-skip album with a precise message hidden in plain sight. Unfortunately, Shift tips the scales at four or five tracks overweight, lending to its drag and inefficiency.