Our Saturday night specialty show The Breaks does a great job of highlighting Austin hip-hop. But naturally, stuff is bound to slip through the cracks, especially when it comes to events before broadcast. That brings us to Austin three-piece Black Sheep Optimists, who’ve been bending genre norms since the start of the pandemic. The trio dropped their debut EP Book One in that uncertain summer of 2020, a four-track tour de force of trunk-rattling ’90s-style beats, rapid-fire rhymes that seamlessly tie braggadocio and introspection together, and two top-tier collaborations from right here in our local community – with KUTX favorites Kalu James and Jackie Venson.
Subsequent BSO singles have veered into more modern sonic territory, with a higher level of production to match their earnest ugly-duckling-turned-alpha-underdog aesthetic. But the spirit of collaboration is still alive and well, as heard on last September’s joint with Kaylin Karr “Lost Boys” and a new single that just came out today. For the latter, the fellas have teamed up with certified Austin shredder Matt Muehling for a four-and-a-half-minute mad dash ahead of BSO’s upcoming sophomore record Book 2.
So shear into the weekend with “Questions and Lies” and take part in the Black Sheep Optimists’ flock this evening at The Hive off Menchaca if you can. “Q&L”‘s live instrumentation gives its looping drum break a ton of extra weight, deft flirtations with vocal effects pump up the already-lurid lyrics, the chorus is nothing short of epic, and Muehling’s nimble guitar work will have you making some serious stank face throughout. Just don’t flatline til the tune’s over.