Celebrity Internment Camp

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While I’m digging a lot of the stuff I purchased during the 86’d Records sale, I think the best thing I got out of the whole deal was a freebie. While 95% of the stuff that showed up was punk related, it was a nice surprise to see an instrumental hip hop album was also included in the shipment (a surprise as this label primarily focuses on punk). The CD I received is a project called Celebrity Internment Camp, a 36 track beat compilation that features music from pseudonyms Urban Sasquatch, Red Carpet Hobo, and Hindsight Genius.

When discussing these types of instrumental beat albums, many are quick to make the usual comparisons to Donuts or some Madlib project which I don’t think is very fair given the legendary status of these producers. It also isn’t fair to the project being compared as well, seeing as that they will never live up to the status of these records but are certainly worth checking out in their own right. With this said, I couldn’t help thinking about Oddisee’s Traveling Man record while listening to Celebrity Internment Camp. I feel the production is similar to that of something Oddisee might put out (which is definitely a compliment to this record) and both projects have a loose underlying theme which the sound is designed to represent.

As Celebrity Internment Camp’s name suggests though, this album’s intended theme is much darker/sinister than that of Oddisee’s globetrotting experiences. The premise of this project as suggested by the name, track titles, and many soundbites over the record is a dystopian future where Hollywood’s stars are held accountable for their “misdeeds” through internment and eventual execution. A comic that is included with the CD release also helps to detail this setting (the artwork is very good, it is definitely worth picking up the physical release for this alone!).

I personally feel that the music does not fully commit to this theme as far as it’s sound is concerned, though maybe this was for the best. The album’s strength to me is in the wide variety of beats that are presented on the record. If the project had stuck to the proposed dystopian aesthetic, it is possible that the production would be far more limited. That said, there are many hip hop projects that execute themes more cohesively (latest that comes to mind is Ghostface Killah/Adrian Younge’s recent album) and it would have been interesting to have seen Celebrity Internment Camp’s premise fleshed out.

Overall I must say that I am impressed by this project. The production found on this album is very solid, with tracks “Jimmy Stole A Radio”, “Where’s My Mom..”, “Traveling at Night…”, and “Lines, Lines, Lines” standing out to me tonight after multiple listens. I think it is fair to compare this work to any up and coming producers out there right now. If these beats were fleshed out a bit, it would be quite interesting to hear what some rappers could do over this material. Hopefully this will not be the last we’ll be hearing from those involved in the making of this record. Definetelly recommended listening!

You can listen to the full album here and download at any price, though I certainly recommend paying the $5 for the physical version which includes very nice packaging and the accompanying comic. Also be sure to check out the video for track “Another Dream About Nightclubs“.

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