Half-hearted braggart Big Breakfast unleashes his sophomore album, Ringtones, on the unsuspecting world. I was poised to post this project as soon as it dropped on Friday the 13th, but then he went and sneak dropped the whole thing a day early at the end of an interview he did with Noisey. Then, Impose came through with a masterful summation and I was resigned to call it quits on Big Breakfast, thinking he had outgrown OK-Tho. But then I realised that, while I may not have a handle on the Long Island scene, the attention span to back my assessment with specific lines, or the gall to critique Breakfast's whiteness, I still have an audience. And, even if that audience is no larger than my editor, Big Breakfast, and myself, those three would still like to hear my thoughts. So, buckle up you three, Ringtones has arrived.
First things first we need a little background on who exactly Big Breakfast is. I found out about Big Breaky by following the New York-based label Smoker's Cough started by the mysterious GDP. Back in 2013 the label made their debut with the all-inclusive Smoker's Cough Sampler. Sadly, Big Breakfast had yet to join their ranks, so neither his production nor his raps were featured. Fast forward about a year and Smokers Cough released a new project called Luxury by the big man himself. To be honest, I never paid it much mind mostly because the cover is someone mixing orange juice and Old English and back then I didn't fuck with either. It really doesn't take much for me to sleep on someone.
The first track from Big Breakfast that caught my eye was, ironically, "Hit Single" which originally appeared on the Smoker's Cough Sampler 2015. The track is almost a hyperbolic Big Breakfast single, complete with an 808 drum kit, the rhetorical "What you know about Breakfast?" intro, and self-depreciation masked as idealism like "bad as the kid that ditched your bitch with the bill at the Best Western." Come on Breaky, couldn't even afford one night at a Best Western?
Then, while I was just minding my own business, trying to get through my semester, I got a DM from Big Breakfast asking if I would be interested in premiering his infectious track "Player" on OK-Tho. The only reason he came to me about it was because he essentially forgot he had planned to premiere it with some other folk but, by the time he remembered, it was too late to pull off. And they say there is no God. The track was a force that I had no choice but to post, especially since it came complete with a music video, a B-side called "Sweet Talk," and a remix.
Since then, I've been hooked on Big Breakfast, heavy. As he continued to drop banger after banger, teasing his forthcoming sophomore album, I did what I could to spread the word. I awoke from my class-induced comma to post up what was then my favorite Breakfast track to date, "Mikey Likes It." He then threatened the internet with the release of another single off of his upcoming album should "Mikey Likes It" get 1,000 plays. It done did get that many plays so he done did go and drop another track, the two for one heater "Sambuca/ 7-Train." The barrage of Ringtones singles was rounded out with the release of "World Industries" which unsurprisingly garnered the attention of Mass Appeal.
Which, finally, brings us to today's topic: Ringtones. The project is nothing short of exceptional if only because it sounds like nothing else around. As can be assumed by now, the project's production is entirely handled by Big Breakfast and is, as a result, very distinctly Big Breakfast. Not because it employs a unique drum kit, but because it uses aspects of the all too popular 808 kit that everyone else seems to have overlooked. Yes, he smashes the kicks and snares as much as the next guy, but he also uses that obscure and terribly synthetic cowbell. This gives his beats a feel that harkens back to 90's trap. At least, that's what my brother says, I don't know much about production.
What I do know about is lyricism, and Big Breakfast has got the lyrics on lock. Big Breakfast is the ideal mixture of lyrics focused on pleasing the ears and pleasing logic. The first line, for example, goes "when I was out 40oz sipping while your shorty out stripping." To be sincere, I don't know what that means. It has something to do with Big Breakfast drinking a 40 and your girl doing what she can to make ends meet, but beyond that, I really can't say what it means. That being said, I really don't care what it means, it just sounds right. You hear that line and you're like, "yes, I get it" even though you don't get it. It just makes sense to the ears.
Another example of this comes in the Wiccaphase featuring "She Don't Love Me" in which Breakfast delivers the following: "I'm bound to be amazing / peace to Kanye 'Bound 2' be amazing." Is "Bound 2" amazing? No. Is that rhyme amazing? Yes. This balancing act between sonic cohesion and logical meaning is no secret to Big Breakfast who makes clear his awareness with the line "the cheap seats as MSG booty cheek squeezer / you don't know what that means well me neither."
Ringtones is not about satisfying the conscious, revolutionary youth, it is about turning up to some ironic hype delivered over banging beats. If you can't understand that, then you don't know shit about Breakfast. I could go on forever about this album, but you'd be better off checking out his brief track-by-track breakdown and listening to him talk about Ringtones this Thursday at 8pm on Bondfire Radio. If you are in the market for some Big Breakfast merch, pick up a shirt from his Big Cartel.