A film about Northwest hip-hop from 2019
Bobby Ro$$ is a vibe-heavy hustle through the landscape of art, blackness, and self-love. On it, Porter inhabits a trap music avatar of the much-loved PBS painter and uses snippets of interviews with cultural luminaries such as Kara Walker, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Maya Angelou as a narrative lattice to paint himself into the canon of black art. NPR calls him “A skilled rapper and a multimedia threat,” while Respect My Region says that “Perry Porter paints a masterpiece with his latest album.”
Here’s another take:
In their annual year-end critics’ poll, The Seattle Times ranked Bobby Ro$$ as one of the very best Seattle albums of 2019, saying:
Since the breakup of his rowdy mosh-rap group Sleep Steady, Perry Porter has established himself as one of Seattle-Tacoma’s unique talents through infectiously fun hybrid rap/live art shows. The charismatic rapper/painter (or is it painter/rapper?) looks and sounds increasingly comfortable grooving in his own watercolored lane on Bobby Ro$$, which arrived this summer with a track-by-track color wheel guide to match the variegated album’s many moods. The man can still annihilate a trap beat with the best of ’em (see: breathless five-alarm banger “Sink or Swim”) while alternately cooling down with beatific cuts like the closing “Watercolor,” which samples artist Kerry James Marshall discussing the dearth of “self-satisfied” Black people depicted through art. Porter, who often paints vibrant, bright-colored portraits of Black women, is refocusing the narrative while doing equally beautiful things with 808s and acrylics.