December is pretty quiet for new music releases, and I’m pretty keen on using the month to play catch-up and spend a little more time with certain albums and EPs I’ve let slip past me during the year. Yesterday I was fixated on Dorner vs. Tookie, a collaborative mixtape from hip-hop collective Hellfyre Club. The group’s got some local connections—it includes newly local rapper Milo and Chicago-reared MC Open Mike Eagle, who connected with wildly playful LA rapper Busdriver for one of my favorite songs on Dorner vs. Tookie, “Degrassi Picture Day (Hellfyre Jackets).”
The pair rap about the seemingly mundane activities behind taking school photos and they manage to evoke all the nervous energy of being a kid preparing to smile for the camera. It’s a state of life I’m glad I’ve passed, but it’s handled with such care and insight on “Degrassi Picture Day” that it’s easy to listen to Open Mike Eagle rap-sing about a kid worrying about his name being misspelled in his class photo without getting too anxious remembering what it was like when I was that youngster. The tune’s spacey synths and lightly rattling percussion are a nice touch too. Take a listen to “Degrassi Picture Day” below—it’s today’s 12 O’Clock Track—and download Dorner vs. Tookie for whatever price you want to pay over at Bandcamp.