“Brutal introspection,” restless anxiety, and a glint of optimism define Cambridge, MA MC Rothstein’s BART EP. Crafted over a three year period in New York, the 6-tracks that made the syrupy, melodic project work cohesively to chronicle a tenuous time period in which Rothstein came full frontal with how “inept” he felt – through a troubled relationship, feelings of isolation, and having few relationships besides random college kids he was serving in order to make rent.
A gifted technical MC – most notably showcased on album standout “Ash” – Rothstein opted to explore melody and full-on singing on tracks like “Ballerina” and “Saved,” which showcases him trading melodies with Vader before fellow Dojo MC Connor Donovan slides through with a triumphant verse. The frank self-observations are expertly scattered about the project, and his impassioned vocals bolster their emotional resonance.
The soundscape was curated solely by producer Shepard, who, as Rothstein notes over e-mail, “is a deeply respected boom-bap/soul producer.” Shepard stepped outside his comfort zone to explore a moody, 808-predicated sonic aesthetic that he doesn’t even particularly like–but maybe that disdain was perfect for a project in which Rothstein comes to grips with his self-loathing and feeling as if he “was pouring everything [he] had into his art and nothing was coming back.”
With this project as well as the success of his recent “Get Your S–t Together” single, it looks like BART, which Rothstein describes as his angriest work, may be the only project created from such dire straits.
You can listen to the BART EP below.