By Jack Barnes
A down-to-earth Southerner with a refined and unique aesthetic and an eye on the stars, Palm Beach’s Eric Biddines makes approachable future-rap, grounded in real emotions and the Southern Rap tradition. Today, Eric Biddines focuses on issues and characters in his South Florida community in the eclectic and eccentric The Local Cafe, his fifth studio album. Bouncing from Southern-fried trunk rattlers to electro-funk R&B-style jams with ease, Eric’s quirky personality shines through the space age, yet organic, production as he weaves grounded stories about his neighborhood with tales from “planetcoffeebean,” his coffee-based utopia. Enjoy this audio stream below after the jump.
The Local Cafe is an in-depth exploration of life for an African-American in Palm Beach County, rich with minute details and lived-in experiences illustrated by Eric’s precise wordplay and intricate songwriting.
Explains Eric Biddines, “The Local Cafe theme is set within the community. It’s a work created for the people with an emphasis on my personal love for coffee and humans. I really wanted to appreciate small local businesses and how they add positivity to their environment. The album is an extension of my previous solo project planetcoffeebean 2. I feel that I nailed a pocket where I balanced out my multiple characteristics in one package, which is something I struggled with in the past. I enjoy having a contrast to things I do so it’s important that it’s understood and I don’t come across messy. I was very hands on producing 5 of the 16 tracks arranging others and bringing in additional live instruments.”
Highlights from the album include the FADER-premiered “Whole Trunk,” a bass-heavy knocker about the great Dirty South tradition of blasting music out your car. Eric followed up “Whole Trunk” with “Peeuurrnn,” an eccentric, Looney Tunes inspired banger about, as Eric puts it, “the teleportation and transference from one negative space to a positive space, faster than the speed of light.” Premiered in December by XXL and with a visual featured last week in NPR First Watch, “Peeuurrnn” is a prime example of Eric’s unique lyrical and musical perspective, springing in part from his upbringing in Palm Beach County and his swearing off drugs and alcohol in favor of coffee.
Alternately singing and rhyming over an ebullient, piano-laden nu-disco beat, Eric Biddines embraces his inner romantic on “Rushing Forever,” another highlight from The Local Cafe. Eric expresses his love to his one and only, using a drawl-y, melodic half-sung flow to spit sweet-nothings before employing a more straightforward rap style in the track’s final minute. “Rushing Forever” is a earnestly sweet love song, cooked Eric Biddines-style: with deep sensitivity and impressive musicality. “I’m a lover,” explains Eric Biddines. “I don’t do many songs like this but I’m just a natural at poetry and Rushing Forever just seemed like something a women in love would want a man to say. That he can’t wait to spend forever with you. It’s one of the more melodic vocal songs but I end with a rap verse that brings me back to my core.”
The Local Cafe Tracklist:
1. Sumn to Say
2. Towns First Storm
4. Railroads Down 3
5. 20 Dollar Loan ft. Drew Tucker
6. Whole Trunk
7. Rushing Forever
8. Wrong Path ft. Kendra Williams
9. Worried Bout
10. Coffee Love
11. Blvd Pimpin’
12. One Thing ft. Blaine
13. Fly Butter
14. Lavender Candles
15. Classic Cars ft. Kendra Williams
16. Praying Mantis
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Props to Eric Biddines