Sapient might just be the biggest rapper you’ve never heard of, which is a sad fact considering the Portland-based artist grew up here in Eugene. As one half of hip-hop duo Debaser, as well as a member of Sandpeople, he’s rubbed elbows with members of Hieroglyphics, Living Legends and Grayskul.
Sapient has also produced infectious beats for Inspectah Deck (of Wu Tang Clan), Slug (of Atmosphere) and Aesop Rock, adding to the pile of reasons to know his work. The emcee-producer is poised and waiting patiently for his moment in the sun.
In the five years since Debaser’s last record, Sapient has released as many solo records, the most recent of which is last summer’s Eaters, Vol. 2: Light Tiger. Following 2013’s small-scale breakthrough Slump — an LP that broke from time-tested form by incorporating elements of indie rock and live instrumentation — this new record is something of a departure from that sound, but is still far from a return to form.
Eaters, Vol. 2 is comprised of equal parts fantastic instrumental beats (see casio-thumper “Laser Tears”) and thoughtful, lyrically-driven hip hop (see the fatherhood-vs.-career anthem “Gone Defcon”). The album is heavily flavored with electronica and plays more like a mixtape than a record, which only serves to illuminate what Sapient means when he says, “I’m like a musical Swiss Army knife.”
Catch Sapient with tour mate David Dalla G, and locals Sammy Warm Hands and KI Design 8 pm Saturday, April 25, at Cozmic; $8-$10. All ages.