“Worlds to Run” by Busdriver TRACK REVIEW

Driver delivers a refreshing new track from his new mixtape, “Thumbs.”

Alex Ralston

Busdriver is an art rapper from Los Angeles who has been making rap music for well over a decade. He quickly gained an underground following with his rapid-fire nasal delivery and clever lyrics, both of which have remained largely constant over the last fifteen years or so. With that being said though, Driver always struck me as less versatile than other rap artists because of his strict delivery; it was energetic enough to make breakbeat jazz rap sound lively, but it never seemed to emote beyond that.

However, on “Perfect Hair,” Busdriver’s 2014 album, this delivery seemed to be evolving in the slightest of ways. Driver produced a nice-sized handful of tracks for this album that were experimental, bold, and versatile. I was surprised at how well Busdriver could maneuver through the more ethereal tracks while still keeping energy on the tougher cuts.

The trend towards increased versatility continues with Busdriver’s “Worlds to Run” from his upcoming mixtape, “Thumbs.” On this newest track, Driver seems to be digging down to an even subtler and more emotional place than what we saw on “Perfect Hair.”

The instrumental, produced by Kenny Segal, takes a mellow guitar sample and builds around it to create one of the smoothest beats I’ve heard in the past year. That being said, I usually run in the opposite direction when I hear acoustic guitars being used in hip hop instrumentals, but Segal manages to use them in just the right way. As the beat goes on, the sounds become bigger, and Segal actually introduces trumpets into the mix. Just when I thought Kenny Segal topped himself on Milo’s “So The Flies Don’t Come,” he progresses and adds fresh sounds to his instrumentals.

Busdriver alone would make the track great, but what really helps the track come through are the features from ex-Hellfyre Club trustworthies Anderson.Paak and Milo. Milo as always delivers a thoughtful, clever, funny, yet poignant verse, speaking on solitude and monetary troubles. For the chorus, Paak soulfully croons, “there’s only so much truth you can keep in your bowl / speak your piece, but words are too harsh.”

Driver’s verse is what really puts the icing on the cake for me, though. I love how sedate he gets while still maintaining his signature flow. He’s sounding kind of beaten down, but still proud of what he’s done. At points in the track, Driver mentions his age and various things he can do because of it, but mostly, it seems, he’s giving us the familiar esoteric matter under a calmer facade. I love how he can turn a phrase and show the intellectual angle, like when he mentions the RPM of someone’s head spinning.

Overall, I’m really impressed with this new track. I think the thing that stood out most to me was how well everything on this song fits together, from the features to the instrumentals. Driver is shining brighter than ever, and all I can hope is that he keeps up the good work.

“Thumbs” comes out November 6.

Listen to “Worlds to Run” here.

Grade: A