I can’ t believe we didn’t get to this sooner–shame on us. Our blogular founding father C. Joeseph Gurba released several months ago what might be his crowning achievement thus far. At any rate, it has become a personal favourite of my own, and I only realized it had been forgotten on this blog when I was compiling my 2012 Favourites list. This project had been lurking in Joe’s subconscious for a while it seems, and now, a few months later, it really feels like the culmination of his great passions: philosophy, poetry, and beats. Even as The Joe, Joe was pushing his rap to its high-art, poetical boundaries, but always with a sheen of pop hooks and mischievous swagger. As Help, Joe is playing a character in a way he never has before–a fully realized persona, and a conduit for every ounce of desperation and uncertainty that’s been in his brain. A Viper in the Mind can be an exhausting listen sometimes, but something this ambitious, pursued to such depths, deserves as much energy, passion and soulcraft as Joe has put into this, his masterpiece.