P.O.S and Astronautalis have released a handful of singles as Four Fists, but if you’re still unfamiliar with their music, I’d actually steer you toward “Fjortis.” It’s not a “spotlight track,” sitting two-thirds through their album 6666. It’s calmer than any of its neighbors. But it links personal narrative, pyro-punk, and a glinty beat in a way that’s all you need to start understanding the rappers’ collaborative album. The Swedish title comes from “fjorton,” or “fourteen,” the exact number of years since they met.
6666 has been a long time coming for two artists who’ve always clicked. As the story goes, they recorded a 7” ages ago and dropped it in 2013, promising an album close behind. Today, it arrived: a smart and surprisingly pretty batch of songs released via Doomtree Records.
The night before the drop, Four Fists sold out Icehouse in Minneapolis, airing nearly all of 6666 for the packed room. Rap pal DJ Fundo handled beats and record scratches, and the crowd did their best to shout along. Perhaps sensing the extreme concentration, Astronautalis called, “Learn the words later. Tonight we dance, okay?”
I had to tell myself the same thing, reporting on an album I’d never heard before. Here’s what I can tell you: 6666 bangs, and that’s thanks to Dutch producer Subp Yao. The beats came from various producers – “Annihilation” from Icetep, “Dork Court” from Breakmaster Cylinder – but every song underwent some sort of treatment from him before making it onto the record. He was slotted to assist at Icehouse, but U.S. visa restrictions prevented him from making it to the show.
My favorite moment — aside from the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors — came midway through Four Fists’ set. They’d just performed “Fjortis” and “Dork Court,” two of the most technically challenging 6666 cuts. P.O.S had even apologized in advance for messing up. But they pulled both songs off; as “Dork Court” petered out, they looked at each other and yelled, “That’s it! We did it!”
If you missed this chance to see Four Fists, heads up: P.O.S teased a secret show going down Saturday, Oct. 13. Stay tuned to social media for details.
We had so much fun last night, we decided to throw a free show tomorrow. All ages, limited space, stay tuned to social media, we’ll announce the location at 3PM tomorrow. https://t.co/Lj5zWNG0gD
— ASTRONAUTALIS! (@astronautalis) October 12, 2018
Chicago/Minneapolis artist Angel Davanport opened the show at Icehouse. You may know her as Angelenah, who rapped the feature on P.O.S’s “Gravedigger”; you won’t forget her once you hear Sore But Grateful, an EP she’ll release on Tuesday. Sometimes aggro, sometimes braggy, but always convincing, her music clinched her a spot on tour with Four Fists. In Minneapolis, Psalm One and Sophia Eris featured on one song each, and Psalm DJed throughout.
Four Fists pulled my favorite Icehouse trick, in which the headlining act performs second and a DJ closes out the night. In this case, a DJ duo – HOOPS, aka Babyghost and DJ Rowsheen – took over after midnight, spinning Nicki Minaj, Panic! at the Disco, and a whole lot of Beyoncé for anyone who wanted to stay and dance. Together, they’ll post up at the Uptown VFW on Oct. 20.
Four Fists Set List
Wanted/Wasted (P.O.S song feat. Astronautalis)
Thieves/Kings (P.O.S song)
SIKE! (Astronautalis song)