Short Fuze is an emcee from Chicago who has been working with Uncommon Nasa since 2010. They already had a few projects under their belts before they officially became Guillotine Crowns in 2020 with the release of their album, The First Stand. They released their latest album, Hills To Die On, just this past April. Now Short Fuze comes back with a true solo album, The Painkiller Boutique.
It’s not often that when an artist has been around as long as Short Fuze has, with all these different projects under his belt, can come out with an album like The Painkiller Boutique and make you feel like you’re being introduced to them for the first time. That’s because while Short Fuze long ago established himself as a dope emcee, he’s never looked inward on a project and just put himself front and center in this way before. At least not on this scale. For the album, he’s working with some familiar producers, such as Messiah Musik, Dr. Khil, Uncommon Nasa and Bloodmoney Perez. Together, they help create this dark and solemn soundscape, with midtempo underground beats that give Short Fuze a lot of space to just step to the mic and tell his stories. From the opening track, “Drowning in My Own Skin,” where Fuze really opens up about how even just his physical appearance and his racial identity and being aware of how people perceived him as a kid affected him on a deeper level than he realized at the time, you know you’re in for a different kind of album. This is a raw listening experience, and a lot of trauma and inner demons are going to be explored, whether it be the shitty male role models in Fuze’s house growing up, or just dealing with depression while trying to create a better world for his kid. As a result, this is an album that you really need to sit with and let everything sink and give it space to breath. If you can do that, it’s more than worth taking the time. And even though this is a deeply personal album, Fuze brings in a few guests to turn the album into group therapy and let you know that you’re not alone in this world, with verses from Uncommon Nasa, Defcee and Collasoul Structure from Jyroscope. Each one digs deep to match the level of personal confession that Fuze is bringing to the table, making it a really special listening experience from start to finish.
The idea of music as therapy isn’t new, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t special when an artist like Short Fuze drops an album like The Painkiller Boutique. Short Fuze finally got himself in the right place to confront a lot of different things in his life through hip hop, and we are all richer for it.
|Short Fuze - The Painkiller Boutique