Sound Advice: "Adam" by D-Sisive
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Sound Advice: “Adam” by D-Sisive

Local rapper crafts a touching tribute to a fallen hip-hop legend.

More than almost any other genre, hip-hop has traditionally been averse to anything that resembles a cover. Sampling another rapper’s voice is fine, but borrowing someone else’s bars is kind of unacceptable.

Thankfully, local rapper D-Sisive has never been huge on “traditional.”

His new release, “Adam,” isn’t actually a cover per se. Instead, it’s an eight-minute magnum-opus tribute to late Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch, whom D-Sisive cites as a major influence. Consisting of a medley of Yauch’s best known verses, re-imagined by D-Sisive, book-ended by two original verses with samples of interviews with Yauch, it’s an inspired and creative memorial to an inspirational MC.

While MCA may have been one of the artists who inspired D-Sisive to start rapping, they’re very different MCs. D’s tenor is the polar opposite of MCA’s gravelly baritone, and his highly pronounced, very nuanced mic presence is miles away from the adrenaline-pumping style of the Beastie Boys. The result is a sort of through-the-looking glass version of some of the best-known hip-hop hits of the ’80s and ’90s.

“So What’cha Want” and “Professor Booty” take on an angry edge, while “Pass the Mic” becomes an emotional statement about the power of music. “Jimmy James,” on the other hand, just becomes a slightly more chilled-out version of the party jam it’s always been. D-Sisive’s original bars, meanwhile, further cement his title as hip-hop’s king of emotional honesty. On the opening verse, his complex rhyme scheme draws you in until you’re right there with him, feeling his heart break as he finds out his idol has died. The closing verse, meanwhile, manages to sum up the cultural impact of the Beastie Boys in a less than a minute.

The Internet has been flooded with MCA tributes since his death earlier this month, but few of them are as heartfelt, or as well constructed, as “Adam.”