Theophilus London, Timez Are Weird These Days

Nate Patrin

By Nate Patrin

on 07.19.11 in Reviews

Timez Are Weird These Days

Theophilus London

An odd splinter faction of independent hip hop has arisen in the last half-decade or so, resulting in a wave of acts — Spank Rock, Plastic Little, Kirb and Chris, Ninjasonik — that have heads knitting their brows over the looming specter of “hipster rap.” Brooklyn’s Theophilus London is the latest in that line, and his cosigns — including Solange Knowles, TV on the Radio‘s Dave Sitek, and Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara — not only point to the networking-savvy groundswell beneath him, they hint at the wide-ranging delineations around his style.

Positioned to bring London’s indie-pop-inflected sound to a breakout audience

Timez Are Weird These Days is an album positioned to bring his indie-pop-inflected sound to the same breakout audience that latched on to Kid Cudi. And its rangy ambition lives and dies on London’s tongue-in-cheek arrogance, the kind of calm and collected international-player characterization that seems tailor-made to make ladies swoon and their boyfriends fume. Like your savvier ’80s babies, London knows the value of a both-ways crossover, aiming for a backdrop of new wave funk atmosphere a’la Dirty Mind topped with the suaveness of a young LL. But even if he doesn’t have Prince’s auteurist genius or the brick-breaking impact of Cool J’s hard-as-hell moments, he’s got both parties’ cocky heartbreaker personae going full-tilt.