A conscious hip-hop artist who has his finger on the pulse of society, Leicester’s Loaneski has become known has made his name synonymous with nerve twitching 21st Century lyrics that take on the mainstream with a wave of heavy instrumentals and aggressive vocals. A rapper who has supported the likes of GZA, Pharoahe Monch, Lowkey, P Money, and more, he’s been carving a relentless path through contemporary music for the last few years.
His most recent release so far, ‘Welcome to Babylon’ arrives as a five-track EP of honest lyrics, creative textures, and unapologetic anthemics that have been inspired by several anime cartoons such as Samurai Champloo, Cowboy Bebop and Tokyo Ghoul, to name just a few. The essence, the new EP is a Loaneski’s way of pushing boundaries and delving into the difficult questions in life, forcing his way through the noise to explore the topics of self-confidence, Capitalism, Democracy, God and education.
Opening with ‘Air Force 1s’, its immediately clear the Loaneski isn’t holding anything back. Building from a solitary few piano keys and crooning, soul vocals, the first few bars announce themselves with immediacy and fire, fusing modern hip-hop with golden era sounds to create an instantly recognisable character and sound. While the beats and instrumentals blur to create a seamless mix of energies, Loaneski’s verses evolve into a wonderfully authentic narrative of ambitions and life lessons. It’s an addictive sound, flowing between heavy reality and conceptual brilliance that’s equal parts entertaining and involving.
‘Thoughts of Many’ follow, bringing with it the polished production of DJ RadioHead Beats and a far more minimalistic approach. Working more with ambient textures and a true sense of dark wonder, the track is one of Loaneski’s most personal, and you can really feel that in the character of the piece. Framed by a hook that it almost impossible to ignore, it’s easily one of the Loaneski’s most accomplished moments in music.
The title track arrives next, bringing it with an unparalleled sense of sound. Jumping back into a more traditional hip-hop style and rhythm, ‘Welcome to Babylon’ ignites with another stream of intricate metaphors and authentic, story-driven lyrics. Loaneski’s flow is natural and unwavering, falling upon a brilliantly captivating sound that never fails or falters. It’s a track where Loaneski’s creative side really fires, and you get the sense that he’s really gone all out, polishing every detail and refining every note.
As the final songs of the EP emerge, we’re treated to ‘Dear Lord’, a collaboration between Loaneski and Jay P, and a song of distinct contrasts in ‘Dialect Architect’. The penultimate anthem sees two strong artists working off each other brilliantly, turning their focus to address God, while also reflecting on their own views and roles with society. It’s an eclectic track that manages to hold to a smooth texture, dances between dark themes and lighter tones to captivate the audience yet again.
‘Dialect Architect’ holds within it potentially on of the most abrupt ends in music, closing the EP with a sudden stop that forces you to reflect not only on the release, but on your own place in the world as well. It’s a technique that Loaneski uses to perfection, and practically forces you to start the EP fresh and dive into Loaneski’s creative world once again. The rest of the track is equally as impressive as the drop, bringing his most technical and skilled rap flow to light while also fusing the near-jazz sound back into the EP to create a sense of completeness.
A powerful release from start to finish, ‘Welcome to Babylon’ is a project that is definitely worth listening to. It’s a release made with passion and precision, and it’s a truly memorable accomplishment that proves Loaneski is an artist with talent and vision to spare.
Stream the EP in full via Bandcamp above, or find it on iTunes and Spotify today.