Fatboi Sharif / Roper Williams: “Cinnamon”

Listening to Fatboi Sharif rap is like watching an old-school sci-fi movie veiled by static. The New Jersey rapper bends hardcore hip-hop into the strangest and most colorful forms—imagine if the Gravediggaz were really into Alejandro Jodorowsky and psilocybin trips. He’s worked with underground luminaries like Preservation and Steel Tipped Dove, but his most resonant (and popular) music comes from collaborations with New Jersey production duo Roper Williams. Together, they have one foot planted on Earth and the other somewhere in the Negative Zone

On their latest EP, Planet Unfaithful, they dive into their offbeat world with plastered, Joker-like grins. That shines through on the intoxicating “Cinnamon,” which woozes and vibrates like a VHS tape left to bake in the sun; Roper Williams’ haunting, drumless loop recalls Boards of Canada as much as RZA. Sharif keeps his flow loose and freeform, trafficking in stark imagery and non sequiturs—a woman jumping into a fountain, blood dripping from honey—as he lets his mind wander. Like their best work, “Cinnamon” sounds like the most surreal lucid dream you’ve ever had.