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  • Writer's pictureCase Cockrell

California rapper Sematary goes gravely hard on new mixtape Butcher House

Sematary is an underground oddity. With over a dozen projects released as the leader of rap collective Haunted Mound, the California rapper has been hard at work since the collective's creation in the year 2019. With new mixtape Butcher House, Sematary seeks to create a more accessible yet just as distorted and chaotic project as his past works.

With this mixtape, Sematary has enlisted the help of his Haunted Mound contemporaries, showing various ways to make their case for their rapidly budding success. With Sematary's versatile production style and monster-like slurred vocal delivery, the rapper delivers what turns out to be a solid experimental rap journey into the demented fantasies of Haunted Mound.

Don't let the album cover of this record fool you. While there are jokes to be made, the music here is anything but gimmicky. The production here is syrupy, ear-drum-rattling, and noisily distorted. All connected together with the compression of all these sounds being pushed through the roof. It's like someone chopped and screwed a trap beat and then threw it in the garbage disposal. On the opening number Haunted Mound Reapers, we are greeted by the maniacal bars with the lines "I flex so hard you'd think it was a funeral." These bars are also backed by orchestral strings that fly in and out of the track with the blown-out 808s that populate the track with blistering fury. A feature from Haunted Mound signee Hackle delivers a solid end to the kickoff of the record with a fresh flow that spits several bars about the group's growing notoriety over the last few years, including lines about golden showers and AK-47s.

The throbbing bass on this record does well to hurl the listener into trap-rap oblivion. The reverb-drenched vocals of Sematary weave together to create these insanely catchy yet extreme cuts throughout this record. On the track, Hallow Be My Wrist, the all-star cast of not only Haunted Mound artists but one of the biggest influences for the collective, Sickboyrari, aka Black Kray. Kray's verse opens the track after Sematary's opening horrific mantra about drugs and religion that translates to what will turn out to be the track's chorus. Turnabout's and Hackle's verses on this track are often hilarious as they discuss purposely inhaling poisonous fumes and expressing their humorously spoken disdain for the cops.

The washy-sounding guitars that open the track Smoking Out Da Grave show Sematary engaging in a bleak Lil Peep-Esque tangent, and I mean this in the best ways. The lyricism used here is reminiscent of the late rapper, with loads of molasses-infused noises that show up all over the track, being a worthy comparison to Peep's lo-fi reverb spectacles before his untimely death. For lack of a better description, it serves as a hell ballad-like structure that makes Sematary as personable as he has been thus far on this project.

When the energy comes back in full force on We Don't Dial 911, Sematary plots verses about refusing to call 911 because he and his posse have already dug the graves for their potential trespassers. Prepared weapons such as a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire serve the song well as Sematary promises to gauge out the eyes of whoever trespasses against him in his place of residence or elsewhere. The bar, as mentioned earlier, reads, "Walk up in my house if you think it's worth your life, My wired bat strong with me, she gon' blow your mind." As someone who appreciated the absurd antics of early Eminem and other horrorcore-inspired MCs, this line bodes well for the track.

The ACAB banger Burn A Cop Car is an edgy, hilariously violent crowd-pleaser. On this track, Sematary raps, "Look at my shit, bitch, I got rooms of it I will tear my skin off, nail yours over it, Stomp a nazi till I see the damn white meat, Make them lil fucking piggies go wee-wee." As juvenile as this seems, you can't deny that Sematary's heart is in the right place here. One of this record's best qualities is how shameless Sematary is at this point in his career. His influences are on his sleeve, the production is as blown-out as blown-out gets, and the horror movie imagery is readily evident. If anything, Sematary is the Leatherface of rappers.

With yet another anarchic project under his belt, Sematary has done well to keep his creative outflow consistent, only growing tighter and more believable with each new release. Whether we discuss the flows, beats, and lyrics, Sematary is building a brand here, and the rapper continues to be one of the most intriguing artists in the underground trap scene. This mixtape goes beyond what SoundCloud rap was and is, and the 35-minute run time will leave you wanting more.


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