Review | Brzowski & C$Burns – The Subjugation of Bread

Review | Brzowski & C$Burns – The Subjugation of Bread


Brzowski and frequent collaborator C$Burns present a “seriously nerdy critique of capitalism through a Marxist/Art-Theory lens”.

‘The Subjugation of Bread’ is the latest release from Brzowski and producer C$Burns (C Money Burns). Available as a digital download, the release can also be purchased on cassette which, unconventionally, comes packaged with a bound ‘Tactical Manual’.

Subjugation: the action of bringing something under control, to dominate. Bread: food or money.

Brzowski describes ‘The Subjugation of Bread’ as a “seriously nerdy critique of capitalism through a Marxist/Art-Theory lens“. It’s a rap record that embraces the artist’s broad musical influences and embodies the spirit of punk. An anti-capitalist sentiment presented over ten tracks with a total run-time of 28 minutes.

At times Brzowski veers away from traditional song structures. A conscious stream of complex wordplay pauses where a chorus might be expected on ‘Red Lanterns’, the second song on the record. It doesn’t come. Instead the next verse maintains the momentum carried from the first. The rapper doesn’t rely on rhyming couplets in this instance either. Instead the melodies inherent in the music provide a juxtaposition to the steady nature of the vocals.

Conventional compositional structures are employed within the record. ‘The Drugs Still Work’ utilises a verse/chorus format, but also introduces the influence of other music genres. Brzowski’s fondness for goth-rockers, Type O Negative is in evidence as he sings ‘Everybody’s is in love, cuz everyone is on drugs‘. An obvious nod to the vocal styling of Pete Steele.

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Produced by C$Burns, the music within the album is largely contrary to the lyrical content and vocal delivery. Intricate beats punctuate layered melodies. There’s a soulfulness to it at times, a little more up-beat than one might expect from a critique of capitalism.

The dynamic works well. Given the complexity of the lyrics it’s welcome that the music doesn’t detract from the vocals. Carefully cut samples across the release provide moments of levity or provoke thought.

Whilst the record runs quite short, at slightly less than half and hour, it’s an album that requires multiple rotations to fully take in the lyrics. Something that’s aided by the previously mentioned ‘Tactical Manual’. The purchase of ‘The Subjugation of Bread’ in a physical format bundle will not only find a cassette, sticker and can-cooler winging their way to you, but also a 31 page bound book. Essentially extended liner notes.

The book is, in itself, an artistic extension of the record. It contains artwork, credits, further reading references and lyrics to each track. All designed to represent a Soviet-style anti-capitalism guide book. Whilst not essential to enjoying the music, it’s a nice collectors piece and a fun throw-back to when reading the liner notes of your latest record or CD was all part of the experience.

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‘The Subjugation of Bread’ is out now via Milled Pavement Records and is available to buy in digital and physical formats via bandcamp.

Four out of Five

The most accessible critique of capitalism through a Marxist lens in rap form you’re likely to ever encounter. -4/5

About Brzowski and C$Burns | Dallas-by-way-of-New-England post-rap mainstay BRZOWSKI and lifelong Maine musician/producer C$BURNS have sculpted a collaborative relationship reaching back to 2012. An indie stalwart with many noteworthy credits under his belt, BRZOWSKI has not slowed his pace of peculiar catalog pieces in the space between solo offerings, while C$BURNS had made a name behind the screen as a vaporwave and outreĢ hiphop producer.



Will Harrison

About the author | Will Harrison

Founder of The Unheard Nerd. A husband and father of two girls, Will is a fan of Nerdcore Hip-Hop, a comics fiend, a podcast host and champion of independent nerd culture. | Follow will on twitter: @TheUnheardNerd