By Connor Batsimm
It’s difficult to tell if Hummus, the self-titled debut release from Skidmore rapper and producer Justin “Hummus” Gallburgh, even qualifies as an EP. At a slim three songs – two of which are an intro and an outro, (each clocking in at only 30 seconds long and dominated mostly by static noises and noodling on a MIDI keyboard,) Hummus barely reaches the five-minute mark and feels less like an album and more like a single, plus some miscellaneous junk that Gallburgh decided to tack on.
While some might view Hummus as a lazy project, Gallburgh prefers to define himself as a minimalist. “I’m tearin’ out a page from the book of John Cage / you talk too much, you gonna get upstaged,” he raps on “Smoking a Joint Behind the Chapel,” the album’s flagship (and only full length) song. He then proceeds to list his favorite snack foods – “Cheetos, Doritos, beef and bean burritos / out behind the chapel making meals for mosquitos,” – and his favorite strains of weed – “Green crack, blue dream, mixed with cookies and cream / call me Chance cause I’m puffin’ on this ultralight beam.”
Sonically, Hummus blends pre-programmed beats with found percussion, occasional samples of R.E.M. songs, and more MIDI sounds. More often than not, Hummus sounds closer to a blend of bedroom pop and beat poetry than hip hop, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that for an aspiring rapper, Gallburgh doesn’t know very much about rap music (or any music) as a genre. Gallburgh briefly shined a light on his musical influences at a stand-up comedy night last year, when he told the audience, apparently in earnest, “as far as hip hop goes, I really like Watsky. I also like, wait no, never mind. It’s basically just Watsky.”
Though Hummus contains moments of startum, it’s far too short and too scattered to leave a lasting impression. Maybe for his next release, Hummus can step up his game and release four tracks.
Grade: 3/5 stars