I Turned Myself Into Myself is a record that feels like a magnum opus. Over nine tracks of rumbling subversion, Shirt and Jack Splash craft an album of brilliant, beautiful chaos, a vibrant and vital exploration into the possibilities of hip-hop through a sprawling set of movements and ideas.
If you’re familiar with Shirt’s work in music and other mediums, then you know he’s the kind of audio-visual artist who makes bold statements. He has an MFA from The School of Art & Design in Basel, Switzerland, his visual work hangs in museums and he’s guest lectured at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s also known for being brash and outspoken, crafting participatory and provocative projects. For example, he once held listening sessions for a new album by playing it while driving people home from work. And he famously designed a fake New York Times website to write a rave review of his work.
As a rapper, Shirt does an exceptional job of straddling the line between intellectualism and keeping it down to earth and relatable. A non-conformist through and through, his power is buoyed by an unyielding dedication to the lyrical art form and his ability to find new ways of elevating it. Equally prolific, Jack Splash is an ever-dynamic producer and Grammy winner who’s worked with artists ranging from Kendrick Lamar, Rass Kass and Freddie Gibbs to Alicia Keys, CeeLo Green and Mayer Hawthorne.
Both Shirt and Splash have been shaping the art world with boundary-pushing work for years now, but I Turned Myself Into Myself might be their most momentous leap forward yet. A subversion of the fragmented nature of our world, the pair have created a compelling, eclectic, and ultimately gorgeous album. Its nine tracks are equal parts sobering social commentary and poetic elegance.
Shirt’s verses are more than just a collection of poetry, they’re a triumph of the rebel spirit, a fiery broadside shot in the face of conformity. Like all great art, Shirt’s lines are provocative, challenging us to reexamine what we hold as true. Case in point, on “Cancel Culture” he raps: “I’m tired of the bullshit/Every motherfucker nowadays on they pulpit/And they talk cancel culture is the culprit. If it’s really that what was it before?/If you being honest then you already know/The way we treat women here for years been atrocious/From how we treat rape to wage gap…I don’t do the unspoken truth, you should know this.”
Complementing Shirt’s deft commentary, Splash’s production is gritty and intricate, yet lush too. His unique ability to capture rich textures and innovative sounds is on full display here, bringing together a full complement of moods and styles, from hard-hitting boom bap (“Dave Chapelle Is Wrong (Beef With God)”) to drumless soundscapes (“Tell The Machine Goodnight”).
In the end, I Turned Myself Into Myself is a stone cold classic by two of rap’s most hard-hitting emcees and producers.