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Album Review
Sims - Bad Time Zoo Album Cover

Sims - Bad Time Zoo

Reviewed by
8.5
SimsBad Time Zoo
Release Date: February 15, 2011
Record Label: Doomtree
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Iconic author Ray Bradbury was a master at spinning together thought-provoking novels that focused on fantasy, horror, and science fiction all at once. The common theme in a majority of his work was dystopia, so it only makes sense that Minneapolis rapper, Sims, would draw inspiration from his work. His latest album, Bad Time Zoo, is loosely built around Bradbury’s 1950 short story, The Veldt, in which a children’s nursery slowly turns into a violent African jungle – all thanks to the “Happylife Home” technology (check it out sometime). Basically, sometimes the most innocent of things become messed up, and SIMS touches on all of that on what is to be one of the most bombastic hip-hop albums of 2011.

Themes of desperation, survival, insight, love, and more litter Bad Time Zoo, and thanks to Lazerbeak’s flawless production, Sims has the perfect backdrop to speak his mind. Paradoxes abound in album opener, “Future Shock,” which spins a tale of how technology brings us together yet tears us apart. A sparse beat paced by a haunting choir and a steady drum kick, the opener sets the stage perfectly for Bad Time Zoo. The one-two punch of Sims and Lazerbeak is phenomenal on “Burn It Down,” as the jazzy barnstormer is in your face immediately.

The title track is a fresh cut in which Sims raps about how our generation wants all the spoils of life without putting in the work. Sims addresses the hypocrisies in green consumerism on the snare-heavy “One Dimensional Man,” stating, “you switched it up now you’re buying all organic/screaming save the planet/but you won’t even save your neighbor dammit.” He then hits even harder in the hook: “they hit you in your heart aiming for you pocket/you can’t ignore the profit/Michael Moore the topic/now tell me that your time is really all that philanthropic.” It is tracks like these two that separate Sims from most hip-hop artists.

The somber beauty of “When It Rolls In” touches on surviving life, while “Good Times” is about celebrating life, as this song works as a Doomtree anthem. Armed with a throwback beat from Lazerbeak, Sims lets loose for a bit and drops some classic one-liners like “no limit no telling what I might do/wild card like Charlie Day/wild style like Crazy Legs/I don’t play the game, I change the game.” Speaking of Doomtree, P.O.S. drops a nasty verse on the smooth “Too Much,” while Lazerbeak lays down one of his best beats on “Radio Opaque.” But it’s not long till he’s back on the many social issues in America, which he goes into detail on the grimy “The Veldt.”

With Bad Time Zoo, Sims has made great strides in his flow since his 2005 album, Lights Out Paris.. His second album features themes and complex rhymes that aren’t for the light-hearted masses who consume radio hip-hop daily. And thanks to Lazerbeak’s stellar production, these paradoxes and complexities have never sounded so good. Throughout the album, Sims paints a grim picture, but it’s not a hopeless one. The first half of closer “Hey You” is an uplifting number about rising up and achieving those dreams. After a few minutes of silence, a frantic beat shows up and Sims recounts the near-death experience of his girl, ending the album on a gut-wrenching and moving note. It leaves us with the message that we find out the most about ourselves when things get toughest. You'll want to keep that message in your back pocket once you enter The Veldt.

8.5/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 25
01:45 AM on 02/16/11
#2
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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Really liked this album at first but it has worn off for me in the three weeks or so. Maybe it'll make a comeback.
04:41 AM on 02/16/11
#3
Ryan Gardner
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Ray Bradbury! Rep haha.

I love this record. Great review.
07:24 AM on 02/16/11
#4
owiseone35
You need human heat
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Gotta agree album is incredible. I love "Hey You" right now.
08:02 AM on 02/16/11
#5
kemichels
I drove through ghosts to get here.
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Really not a fan of the song where he keeps repeating "that's why I love my girllllllllllll"...but outside of that, this album is awesome.
08:05 AM on 02/16/11
#6
Shakriel
I just need reassurance.
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Really enjoying this album a lot. "When it Rolls in" is my favorite track.
08:10 AM on 02/16/11
#7
8SlicesOfPie
http://dwhb.bandcamp.com
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Loving this album. Awesome review, too.
09:19 AM on 02/16/11
#8
wall e
@mattobrien37
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Really not a fan of the song where he keeps repeating "that's why I love my girllllllllllll"...but outside of that, this album is awesome.

I feel the same way
09:26 AM on 02/16/11
#9
HaileyItHappens
I would make tits more sense
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I'd rather listen to this instrumentally cause the beats really bang but Im not a huge fan of his flow.
09:43 AM on 02/16/11
weworemasks
save the drama for wilmer valderama
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I'd rather listen to this instrumentally cause the beats really bang but Im not a huge fan of his flow.

I see this happening for me too. I haven't listened to it yet, though.
10:06 AM on 02/16/11
Oddpac87
http://www.mixcloud.com/APFC/
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I'd rather listen to this instrumentally cause the beats really bang but Im not a huge fan of his flow.
Lazerbeak said he plans on releasing an album of just beats someday, but I don't think he really has any kind of time frame set for it yet. Hopefully it happens this year.
10:15 AM on 02/16/11
IamTheINDUSTRY
glory glory
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so awesome. his flow is on point too.
10:33 AM on 02/16/11
Meeze
PunkOut.org
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Sims sounds like a male version of Dessa... awesome!

Edit: Doomtree...now it makes sense. Great label.
11:26 AM on 02/16/11
BozzBlonde
twitter.com/adeadgod
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This album is great. And, I agree - P.O.S.'s verse is sick and "Radio Opaque" has the greatest beat. It's my favorite on the album. The whole album has been on repeat since I got it in the mail.
11:26 AM on 02/16/11
BozzBlonde
twitter.com/adeadgod
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I'd rather listen to this instrumentally cause the beats really bang but Im not a huge fan of his flow.
Yeah, I agree that there were some spots where his flow was pretty weak.

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