The production duo of Shorty T and Johnny Filter (together known as SHORTFILTERS) are determined to prove that artistry isn’t dead in a widely conformist genre like hip hop.
Conformity: behaviour in accordance with socially accepted and prevalent conventions. In a landscape that has embraced trap as the de facto sound of hip hop, the production duo of Shorty T and Johnny Filter (together known as SHORTFILTERS) are determined to prove that artistry isn’t dead in a widely conformist genre like hip hop. The beauty of hip hop is in the individuality, the braggadocio and bravado is about standing out from the crowd and proving that you’re different and that might mean different things for different people. For some that might mean wearing women’s clothing and for some it might mean ordering breakfast for lunch.
Beat tapes are normally devoid of narrative because they don’t have the luxury of lyrics to tell a story, but in true non-conformist style, SHORTFILTERS deliver a high concept project about defiance and rebellion against the norm.
We start off with the ‘I Want Breakfast’ intro which starts with a clip from the famous “I want breakfast” scene from Joel Schumacher’s 1993 neo-noir psychological thriller film Falling Down. The track also features looped vocals from what could and could not be Susanne Vega’s 1987 classic “Tom’s Diner”, a song coincidently about someone having coffee at a diner.
‘Sunnyside Up’ is a more mellow tune, with a relentless piano loop over a thumping bassline – this song sounds like Beethoven meets J Dilla, in an alternate universe where both these musical geniuses shared a stage.
The third track ‘Continental Breakfast’ features yet another clip, this time from comedic duo Keegan-Michael Key & Jordan Peele, taken from a skit on their Comedy Central sketch show Key & Peele of the same name. Continental Breakfast has a more orchestral feel backed by trippy drums and high hats.
‘Waffle Batter’ is one of the two collaborative tracks on the EP, featuring producer Saturn Beats from Cape Town based hip hop crew Writers Block. The track has a more retro feel to it and sounds like the countdown to an old Mario Kart video game. It’s brimming with nostalgia that’ll have you longing for the days of Polo tracksuits and Casio watches.
‘Loco Moco’ features a loop of Tyler, The Creator’s cheeky line on Earl Sweatshirt’s ‘Sasquatch.’ They can’t handle us / cause we running shit like the dingleberries on four cheetahs/ over a jazzy beat that sounds like something the Odd Future duo actually cooked up in studio themselves.
The highlight of the album is ‘Mmm Bacon’, the second track, featuring Saturn Beats, which also continues the movie skit pattern, this time with Samuel L. Jackson’s and John Travolta’s iconic bacon scene in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 cult classic Pulp Fiction. The beat is in two parts: the first part answers the question whether boom bap needed more high hats and the second part, much shorter park, soundtracks a frolick in the garden with your crush.
Beats 4 Breakfast closes out with ‘Umbeko’ a fast-paced rush of high tempo riffs and with a clip from the scene between Cypher and Agent Smith in The Wachowskis’ The Matrix where cypher ends off with saying “ignorance is bliss”, maybe raging against the machine is a losing battle, maybe rebelling against our conditioning to inherently rebel is nothing more than trying to stand out in a crowd that’s too tall but screw it, ignorance is bliss.