“Emo” isn’t the sole property of indie rock. B-boys have feelings, too. Check Pete Miser for proof. The New York emcee, via Portland, Ore., wears his feelings on his mic on his newest release Camouflage is Relative.
Narrative prose — a la Slick Rick — is Miser’s strength. He embodies the hip-hop culture but eschews the machismo posturing that is so transparent in commercial rap. He’s an emo emcee, but he can flip a phrase with the best. On I See You, Miser raps to the object of his affection: “I’m so grimy in comparison it’s embarrassin’ / You got me weak in the knees like Nancy Kerrigan.” Final is like a diary entry about his ex in which Miser tries to excuse his emotions: “I bet this is going to seem a surprise / but I still catch them feelings when I look in her eyes.”
But no track jumps like the opener, So Sensitive, even if — or maybe because — the stuttering guitar loops recall N.W.A.’s If It Ain’t Ruff. This is where Miser flaunts his verbal prowess but bares his soul, too: “Weigh a buck fifty with a backpack / still dumb enough to slap Shaq and tell him he raps wack.” But on the chorus, he opines: “It ain’t easy being me / with all these insecurities / I’m such a sensitive emcee.”
Topped by tight production, Miser is an underground hip-hop gem.