Even when tackling more personal topics, the self-proclaimed king of nerd-core hip-hop has consistently maintained a chipper demeanor, but his 10th album is an exception. There’s still the occasionally danceable track like “MC Chris the Shit” and the typical collection of goofy skits, but on the whole MC Chris is Dreaming is an album besieged with personal demons.
Inspired by the synth-laden score of Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” Dreaming is driven by creepy but catchy keyboard melodies that dreamily underscore the subject matter. If MC Chris was being haunted by his past ghosts on his previous album, he’s possessed by them on this one. MC Chris is blunt about his fears and insecurities, rapping about everything from his weight to his fear of becoming like his alcoholic father. He effectively uses pop culture boogieman Freddy Krueger as an avatar for his mounting anxieties and attempts to overcome him by focusing on what he has in front of him. It’s surprisingly deep for an album that contains a song about nocturnal emissions.
The dour attitude even seeps into the normally light-hearted skits, featuring bits where Freddy dangles success in front of MC Chris only to snatch it away. But he does eventually find closure, meditating on why a demon capable of conjuring up any dream world imaginable would choose to reside in a personal hell, especially when he could have waffles. Always self-aware of his indulgences, MC Chris calls his album out for being depressing and maudlin in the final skit. But this is an indulgence that can be forgiven. No longer anxious to please by turning out silly Star Wars dance tracks, MC Chris is growing as an artist and Dreaming is evidence of that.