No Kings is the second all-crew release from the Doomtree collective, the prolific pack of Minnesota musicians known for their explosive live shows, their ferociously DIY ethic, and their blatant disregard for the conventions of their genre.
All seven members of Doomtree have built solo careers as rappers, producers, or DJs. (Roster cheat sheet: P.O.S, Dessa, Sims, Cecil Otter, Mike Mictlan, Lazerbeak, Paper Tiger.) Individually these artists receive press from outlets like The York Times, NPR, Spin, Rolling Stone, and The Utne Reader. When they take the stage together, they’re an unstoppable storm of knuckle tattoos, fedoras, high-tops, and sensible flats—they’re funny together, desperately serious together, and their loyalty to one another is evident to everyone who’s seen a show.
Doomtree has a well-earned reputation for aggressive, innovative production that spans genre and era—borrowing from punk, classical, obscure rock, experimental, and foreign styles. Even for Doomtree, this new project is bold. If No Kings were a movie, it would be a cross between The Lost Boys and Tron. Or maybe a Quentin Tarantino take of Lean on Me: youth and innocence with a surreal and futuristic, pulp twist. Lyrically, the record rejects the youth culture of fashion magazines, and replaces it with stories and images that might be better set at an anarchists’ summer camp: escapades in subversion and free thinking. Contagious synth lines spike and dive, layers of percussion create a constant forward motion, infectious melodies loop on horns and distorted guitars, sub-bass hits your chest, then your gut, then the residents of the apartment below you.
Ultimately the title, No Kings, is a call for both rebellion and respect—obey no monarchs, seek no thrones. There are 808s in Neverland. There are no kings in Minneapolis. And Doomtree continues their ascent the same way they began: one city, one club, one show at a time.