By Daniel Paiz
Supaman stays creating medicine for the masses with his music, so “Medicine Bundle” is a natural progression for his next album. The recent poet laureate nominee of Montana is dropping this project soon, and it’s full of music fusing tradition with contemporary sounds and ideas. After interviewing Supaman last July, the goal was to review unreleased music; this bundle is definitely multiple replay worthy. The music on here is a special kind of medicine.
Therapeutic is the best way to describe this album, both for the listeners and the artists. Each track provides a different aspect of medicine for those listening. The entire medicinal bundle serves well as a cohesive album, while simultaneously having each track standalone too.
The album’s theme of a bundle of medicine also traverses across time, from life experiences prior to the album up until present day. Life lessons throughout the project are timeless, and enhance the narrative. Breaking down the album track by track should better explain those lessons.
Track by Track
“Another One” reminds us what Supaman has manifested previously, and how this plans to be a tape continuing the tradition of rapping about his culture, people, and the troubling times everyone is experiencing. One of my favorite lines is “to the guy who stole my antidepressants, I hope you’re happy.” The scratching and samples add gravity to this introduction, showcasing Supaman’s overall progression.
“I Hope You Know” starts out very referential with traditional drums and prayer call transitioning into a very four on the floor type of beat. This feels reflective and medicinal in a blended mix of traditional music and hip-hop. The visuals below I would not have guessed, but that’s okay because honestly this song could’ve had a variety of different visuals that would’ve highlighted the beat and lyrics.
“Stay Connected” samples a speaker discussing the damage the United States has done to Native Americans throughout history. Reporting and Hollywood depictions have been damaging, and it’s up to the listener and popular US society at large to educate ourselves. The beat throughout is hard hitting, initially making this listener hopeful that we’d get some hard bars related to the sample; alas it’s not to be.
“Know Better Do Better” has a very Boom Bap feel to it, similar to Supaman’s previous song entitled Prayer Loop song. The Montana emcee disputes American claims of finding the United States. He then proceeds to drop bars about how the truth is hard to swallow; to this day, Native folks are still presented as “mystical” and “Othered.”
“Eclips” is has a very rainy, thunderstorm feel to it. This one focuses on questioning the state of US society, and how trusting the government is not a wise decision; this is based on countless atrocities committed against Native Americans. The featured emcee discusses what damage is done to the people via viruses, the water, and treatment of Black women.
“Alright” follows as a mix of Boom Bap with a series of effective samples. Reassurance to the listener ruminates despite what might be going on around us. Life will improve; the rhymes and the singing vocals reinforce that. Simple yet effective, “Welcome to Earth, where hurt people, hurt people” stands out amongst other lines.
“Ethnocide” starts out with a tone-setting sample: “government forbid children to dance Indian; that was so they could wipe out the culture and the young people, and finally the new generation would never know what happened”. Heavy drums prepare us for a heavy beat drop, feeling almost ceremonial, as it fuses together with a breakdancing circle. Yet another vial of the medicinal bundle that is carefully being put together.
“Sonshine” starts out with soulful vocals setting up the verse. Supaman reminisces on his relationship with his son, as well as the ups and downs of raising a son today. Lines that rang in my ears were “This is that wisdom that you won’t find in college,” and “whatever you believe, is what it’s gonna be,” and “everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives.” So many quotable lines that highlight the relationship and the lessons learned along the way. Might be my favorite track on the album so far; listeners witness another element to the medicine bundle that is this album.
“Mommas Prayers” has a gravity to it other tracks haven’t at the beginning; the vocals (featuring Melanie Rutherford) and the beat (produced by Nottz) envelop the listener. I kept hitting repeat when I heard “My mom prayed and said it’s not over, my mom prayed and she got sober and became my rock boulder.” A tribute song that touches on difficulties faced through tough life lessons. Tribute is another part of the bundle; for some reason, these last three songs have made me aware of this growing musical medicine bundle.
“Another Day” focuses on pushing through struggle; that happens with support from people who care about you. Rhymes focus on what someone needs to do to keep going daily. A positive track that has plenty of positive encouragement throughout.
“High” feels different, as the focal point is about how Supaman has been rapping for some time now. The biggest hype song in the bundle. Hard to tell who the featured verse is, though.
“Find A Way To Eat” is a rapid-fire delivery, a braggadocio track that showcases his skill set while also belittling opponents that can’t deliver. Kaboose as the feature is giving his own version of this as well. A very fluid, solid delivery that matches Supaman bar for bar.
“Let Em Go” feels heavier as the closing track, due to the sample used. Quotables include “Half the world starving, the other tryna to lose weight” and “Spark this to the darkness, What I teach is dangerous, I’m just tryna free my people from the deepest anguish.” These two lines stick out amongst all the dope bars here. This is another candidate for my favorite track of this project. This is super replayable, both due to the instrumental as well as the lyrics. This track does what a lot of artists haven’t been doing lately: making me want to hear more, and it makes me curious what follows up this current Medicine Bundle project.
This project consists of different medicines to apply for different aspects of life. Besides tracks 11 and 12 on this album, the first 10 tracks feel like each has a purpose and reasoning behind it, in terms of being medicine. This bundle idea is perfect for an album setting. The two tracks in question might also just be different forms of medicine; the tracks are reminders and reflections on what Supaman has been through to get to today.
Sometimes it’s necessary to reflect and be proud about the progress one has made, and to also positively reinforce oneself. That’s often what braggadocio tracks tend to be, a form of self-reinforcement. Life rarely offers kudos or pats on the back, so every once in a while we need to do so for ourselves. Supaman’s “Medicine Bundle” is therapeutic for every phase of life. Plus, there are plenty of joints to replay so you can fully digest the medicine.