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Paris Texas | Mid Air Album Review

Hip Hop and rock music have a long history together. From Aerosmith and Run-DMC bringing their two worlds together in the 80s to Jay-Z and Linkin Park doing the same thing in the 2000s. Of course, in the post-Yeezus era, many Hip Hop artists have tried their hand at incorporating elements of industrial music and rock into their raps. Some have succeeded, like Playboi Carti’s Whole Lotta Red, while others certainly fell short. Almost all of these style benders, however, try to claim themselves as rockstars instead of rappers despite not really carrying any real rockstar energy. Enter Paris Texas.

The duo is keeping the punk rock spirit of Hip Hop alive. The Los Angeles pairing of Louis Pastel and Felix seemingly gets compared to the legendary rap-rock band Rage Against The Machine the most. It’s easy to see why, as both acts claim LA as home and rap over wicked guitar licks, but that doesn’t really match their style. On their debut album MID AIR, Paris Texas brims with cathartic and rebellious energy that parallels that of iconic Washington DC-punk band Bad Brains or Detroit proto-punk band Death. While the spirit behind Paris Texas’ music is as old as Hip Hop itself, Felix and Pastel add their own modern flair, breathing new life to Hip Hop and rock’s long-storied history together.

While many artists certainly take influence from their favorite rock music in this era of genre-bending, Paris Texas is equally a rock duo and they are Hip Hop. Where most artists merely experiment with other genres, Paris Texas fully embraces the idea of splattering different types of music like paint on their metaphorical canvas, creating colorfully distorted worlds that match the vibrations of their album. MID AIR opens the gates swinging with “tenTHIRTYseven” with Louis Pastel asking listeners “Who wanna rock? Who wanna roll? Who wanna die?/I’m throwing a fit, let’s get in the pit” over a high-octane electric guitar and drums, inviting you into their world of chaotic energy before transitioning into the rap-heavy “Split/Screen” as the very next track with Felix mocking the fact that the same kids who picked on him in school for are now the same ones loving their music today. “Sean-Jared” even incorporates electronic music after an abrupt switch halfway through the track. If there were thesis for MID AIR, it would be Louis Pastel’s line on the Kenny Mason-assisted “DND,” where he spits: “Way that we rockin’, we had to confuse ’em/DBZ, look at the way that we fusin’ rap with the rock, this the fuck how you do it.”

The penultimate track “Ain’t No High” swaps the electric guitar for an acoustic one, and they croon about the turmoil that drug abuse has brought them. The end of the track even samples the sounds of different drugs being consumed, like the sounds of snorts, drinks pouring and lighters being flicked. It’s all a nice setup for the grand finale of “…We Fall” where the duo both affirm that still alive and thriving in spite of all the bullshit, with Felix reflecting that his dad “Wanted me to get enlisted, be a politician, somewhere I could find security without a vision/But I just kept faith that we find our own sound/The plan was to split ’til we find our own lane.” With a debut studio album as refreshing and well-rounded as MID AIR, it seems like they’ve found that lane, and may be the leaders.

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