The Box in the Mirror: The Odd Hal Sucks A$$ Edition
The organ vibrato that opens The Box in the Mirror: The Odd Hal Sucks A$$ Edition misleads its listeners: this recent effort from Cardboardi B worships only at the altar of hot fire. Best known for his underground mix tapes Tissue Paper Kisses and The Postage Chronicles, vol. 2: Lick It and Stick It, the corrugated crown prince of hip hop offers a project owing as much to early Eminem and Macklemore as his own invention.
After the introductory skit, “The Grand Ole USPS” channels the manufactured kitsch of Macklemore with the, at times disturbing, situational fluidity of early Eminem. Cardboardi at once declares his love for the oft-beleaguered postal service while critiquing Adam Sandler’s career. The following feature-heavy tracks (“Bubble Rap,” “Caught in the Mail Gaze,” “Packing Heat”) present a similar topical density to match their textual activity. While Cardboardi’s verses could benefit from more space and fewer words, fresh contributions from Naloh, D-Rocket, and Saint Jess counterbalance the onslaught.
The album takes a more contemplative turn with the onset of “Cardboardi’s Lament,” which is followed by the less fiery but equally introspective “The Box in the Mirror.” While the lament confronts the ontological concerns of an animated cardboard box, “The Box in the Mirror” may constitute the actual lament in the album’s second half. It’s sung choruses drip with anguish in direct opposition to the driving rage of “Cardboardi’s Lament.” The softer expression continues with “I Want You, I Need You,” Cardboardi’s only love song, but the mood quickly turns—and ironically so—with the following “My Floppy Soggy We Cardboard Problem,” with its trap-esque hi-hats and vigorous vocal line.
Taken as a whole, The Box in the Mirror: The Odd Hal Sucks A$$ Edition is a wide-ranging response to an equally varied corpus of influences, ranging from drill to Macklemorian camp. Cardboardi B leverages these influences to explore issues as diverse as existential confusion and the USPS’s operating procedures, and in so doing crafts a sublime reflection of our 21st-century sociocultural environment.