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Review: Bersurke – He’s Gonna Puke!

Hailing from Billerica, Bersurke is a rapper’s rapper, a versatile technician possessed of a ruthless wit. He wastes no time demonstrating this in his new EP’s eponymous (and first) track, “He’s Gonna Puke!”, as he throws references to Salem, MA and Facebook within the same verse, and elsewhere dismisses other rappers as a “nuisance”. The minor key, piano driven production, along with rapid fire disses at no one in particular, suggest that Bersurke hails from the more hardcore side of underground rap, taking inspiration from the likes of Jedi Mind Tricks or Immortal Technique.

However, the EP soon switches gears and shows Bersurke’s versatility, as he hangs back with his equally capable crew, letting the vibes take precedence over the technical battle rapping. In this context, Bersurke and co’s brutal takedowns take on a greater sense of menace, and brings the perspective closer to street-level. He seems most at home among the soulful RZA-esque string samples of “Go Back,” and the cinematic horns on “Rats Ass” (a beat that Lil Wayne would probably want to poach if he heard it). These two tracks are as welcome as they are unexpected, as they veer away from the initial east-coast underground feel of the first.

The east coast feel returns with “Music Movements”, which is packed with throwback verbal dexterity, an ice cold piano sample, and classic boom-bap drums that would have sounded perfectly at home on The Infamous. It’s followed by the EP’s best track, “Kin To The Devil,” which is driven forward by a scuzzy guitar riff and some of the record’s most visceral flows. The song is a great fusion of all Bersurke’s strengths, in particular his ability to embody so many disparate styles so well.

He does this by combining expertly precise production with respect for the old school, as well as a rhyming technique far beyond many of his peers in the (MA) scene. All of this is amplified by stellar production throughout. So while “He’s Gonna Puke” initially presents as a humble EP by the wisecracking guy next door, Bersurke more than backs up the claim that his rivals are in fact “garbage and trash.

– Will Hunt