Louis “Louis Logic” Dorley released Sin-A-Matic in 2003. He ran into some comparisons as this album came on the heels of The Eminem Show and before Encore, notable as the point where a comparison to Eminem meant, “You’re trying to do what Marshall’s doing but you can’t.” When I listen to songs like “Mischievous” and “Coochie Coup,” the connection is apparent. But, I can also hear something else where Eminem only dabbled: Louis Logic is a masterful storyteller.
Besides a knack for flowing with multi-syllabic rhymes and carrying a rhyme scheme for more than the standard two bars, Louis puts his songs together in such a way that Sin-A-Matic can come off as a collection of short stories. It helps that the production crafting is limited to four people, predominantly longtime associate J.J. Brown although Celph Titled, Memo and The Avid Record Collector contribute occasionally. This allows for a sense of cohesiveness throughout, as the quartet seem to have coordinated their efforts to give their records a particular, sinister and playful sound.
Louis was once a member of The Demigodz, and this relationship set the stage for the coupling of “Best Friends” and “Revenge!!!” The former brings Apathy into the fold as an ersatz friend who Lou enlists as a companion to his lovely boo, only to have the Connecticut emcee seduce his girl: “One night over some Hennessey we started messing sexually/ and well, now we’re dealing with an unexpected pregnancy.” He calls up Celph Titled for comeuppance and they get into a steaming pile of dookie. No spoilers, but Lou makes the tragic incredibly entertaining. It’s like watching The Fugitive with dope beats and less Harrison Ford. Another song centering around relationship drama, and perhaps an alternate take on this sequence, is “Dust to Dust.” This album finale features a bonus track, a duet with Lou’s buddy and main producer J.J. Brown.
Although the Drunken Dragon gets vulgar as can be on “Coochie Coup,” he almost sounds sincere on “The Rest.” He toned it down a bit on 2006’s A Perfect Circle but at this point, on songs like “Postal” and “Freak Show” he can be incredibly difficult to take seriously. He also seems to be hopelessly in love with hooch. He coddles the bottle on “Dos Factotum” and it’s one of the most entertaining songs on the album. “Idiot Gear” may be the best known of the bunch, with a second verse for the ages, and “Fair Weather Fan” is his account of a message board conversation on his perception of his fans, why they like him and how they get disappointed. I mentioned earlier that one of his great strengths is storytelling, and he firmly punctuates this for me on “The Ugly Truth.” This song is incredibly disturbing and thought-provoking, and it doesn’t make sense until the very end. It’s a little out-of-date, but a lot of what he says still holds true.
That extends to the majority of the album. Lou’s main subjects are women, booze and social idiocy, timeless targets for any rapper, and his words are incredibly cunning and incisive. He’s one of a handful of rappers who can make me laugh at the drop of a hat, showing incredible self-awareness and an ability to make his rhymes sound fresh every time you hear one of his songs. After all, there’s a reason I’m writing about it ten years later.