Not nearly as emo as his other TSS appearance, Avatar Darko throws all filters to the wayside in Soviet Goonion,* the title a nod to his Russian roots and upbringing by the streets. In his latest substance filled chapter, the Seattle-to-LA transplant swerves across the freeway before settling in the unoccupied lane of always grungy, occasionally emo trap rap. Make no mistake, though, the album is very, very ignorant, and that’s what makes it such a trip.
While most of the songs feature a drugged out Av unapologetically spitting, there are some unexpected higher points, pun intended. “Dubai” is an early highlight over a surprisingly playful beat that pairs up his summer European travels with his appreciation of illicit drugs, along with an incredibly catchy hook. The Blue Sky Black Death-produced “Mind F*ck” is another instance where he demonstrates that behind the gruff voice and unapologetic ignorance, there’s a thoughtful attention to wordplay, as he essentially explores the ins and outs of reverse psychology, finding no resolution.
The true highlight of the album, however, is the last four tracks. Megaman, Jahlil Beats, and Southside craft the soundscape for Av to feed off, and he is really putting the “goon” into Soviet Goonion. It’s difficult to pick a favorite between the four, kind of like choosing your favorite kid I would imagine, but the multiple meanings behind “Never Cool Off” gives insight into the grunge trapper.
Download — Avatar Darko – Soviet Goonion Mixtape
* – The only filter around this guy is the lean-colored lens that various scenes of “It Ain’t On Me” were filmed through. Directed by Kingston of Blue Sky Black Death, the video features Nacho Picasso and Av gallivanting aboard yachts and showing off their tats.