R1 Blast visionary Tethra64 AKA Dying Tethra has been teasing his long awaited full length album EraserGun for a number of months now, and the results exceed every single one of my monstrously high expectations. You can hear the project in its entirety here.

A seasoned rapper and producer from Philadelphia, Tethra has been making boundary-pushing hip hop for as long as he’s been involved with it. Thanks to EraserGun being so heavily promoted by its creator, I knew that Blast (a blend of trap and edm sub-genres such as jungle/drum and bass pioneered by Tethra himself) would be present, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the crushingly dystopian atmosphere that envelops every detail of this project. ‘Full Throttle’ absolutely sets the tone for what is to come, dogged raps exploding over one of the filthiest beats that I’ve ever heard Tethra cook up. A master of the small details, the producer ensures to pack every song featuring his beats with as many cybernetic sounds as possible. Even when guests like Neverender and MarreroMP5K step in, the sound remains airtight and never loses its momentum. It’s obvious that Tethra is well suited to being an executive producer, his ability to allow his collaborators to shine without compromising his own sound is admirable.

This statement can be applied to the vocal cameos that this album sports, too. Cowboykillerr shows up on the savage ‘WolvesDen’ to turn in a typically excellent guest verse on his fellow R1 member’s track (he previously did this on ‘Cyborg64’ and ‘No Heart’ from Tethra’s last two projects respectively), while Icxxy and Dretti Franks deck it out on the massive ‘Save//Point’. The latter song is arguably the project’s strongest moment, not just because it features two of the underground’s most important artists but because it’s Teth’s most ambitious track to date, clocking in at almost five minutes long. The songwriting on this album is superb, every hook feels necessary and is incredibly memorable. Often, the most anthemic lyrical moments of the tape, like Icxxy’s R1 shoutout on ‘Save//Point’, are used as teasers at the start of tracks. This method of ‘rewinding’ the album’s songs is vital to the overall flow of EraserGun, which functions largely as a showcase of the rapper/producer’s ever-growing musical ambitions.

The UK influence on this project is important to note too. Teth is one of very few people in the US underground who recognised the importance of Britain’s rich musical scene, his implementation of said culture is always immensely tasteful and he has my utmost respect for that. As well as incorporating genres that originated in the UK into his vast production palette, he used unique tags for this tape that; delivered as they are in a British accent; add to the transatlantic feel of the project as a whole. Tethra deserves his flowers for EraserGun, it’s extremely obvious to me now that he’s one of the most capable producers in his field, a true pioneer of the underground that will undoubtedly go down as one of its most influential.

– Chris (@108mics)

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