Comprised more of muted adrenaline and lust than it is any actual melodic faceting, “Sons of Belial,” the new single from Pure Order, sees the underground hip-hop duo making headlines with some of the best grooves I’ve heard from any indie act in the past month. “Sons of Belial” features a thrusting rhythmic center that pushes forth an ocean of feeling leaving only a finite amount of room for these players to layer soulful lyrics against the fleeting melodies in the backdrop, but while it’s still pop-friendly on the surface, this single is sporting one of the more experimental tempos that I’ve had the pleasure of listening to this winter.
Though I like the lyrics here, the vocals are what lend so much of the raw charisma to this performance, making it sound and feel like a genuine hit for this pair. There’s never an instance where it feels like they’re forcing it or performing someone else’s rhymes; there’s an honesty to the work they’re putting into these verses that you can’t simply fake in the recording studio, no matter what might be offered on the other side of the glass.
We need more soul in hip-hop at the moment, and while they might not be in Fugees territory, Pure Order has a comfortability with melodicism that inspires me to think of some of the more innovative minds that have influenced the cultivation of the hip-hop genre as we know it today. “Sons of Belial” swings, but this is largely because of the charm of its players as opposed to the structure of the composition itself – a calling card of the best musicians we’ve got in progressive R&B and melodic rap at the moment.
For as much R&B swagger as we encounter in the foundation of “Sons of Belial,” to me, the efficiency of this piece feels like the biggest point of communication for Pure Order here. The presence of texture creates far more of a mood than the lyrics do in both the video and the song, and though the former is a lot more entrancing cosmetically than the latter is, I wouldn’t say that the narrative feels altered depending on which document you examine first. Pure Order might not have conceived this song and its video intending to steal some spotlight from the major label competition this holiday season, but in my opinion, this is a release that was designed specifically with rap-centric audiophiles in mind, and for the group it was meant to satisfy, it’s a home run without question.