Here is a list of artists who have endorsed or collaborated with the gloriously monikered Theophilus London: M.I.A.; TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek; Sleigh Bells; Sara Quin from Tegan and Sara; John Hill of Santigold production repute; and one-time Jealous Girlfriends member Holly Miranda. Not, then, the usual cast list of supporters drafted in to help propel a young rapper up from out of the mixtape circuit and into the major rap leagues. But a spin of Timez Are Weird These Days, the Brooklyn-based rap fop's debut studio album, reveals that to be the idea: He's a rapper, but he doesn't seem particularly bothered about cultivating rap fans.
Timez Are Weird These Days might be grounded in the basic idea that it's a collection of songs that employ rapped lyrics as the main vocal delivery, but its production, grooves, and ultimate ambitions aim elsewhere. At times it's music for a hip party, like the fuzzy, smutty funk of "Girls Girls $." At others, London is swanking around like he's draped in Diddy money, talking about becoming smitten with a "disco queen" that he runs into while hitting up a city's "bistro scene" ("Love Is Real"). London's songs usually push in a pop direction, too: Skipping over the actual rapping part, "I Stand Alone," with its defiantly motivational chorus, does a decent impression of an Eagle Eye Cherry ditty; lead single "Why Even Try" and "Lighthouse" sound like he missed his calling as an '80s pop-rapper. (If only London had Diddy's budgethe could rap over Duran Duran!)More »