by Thomas Bedward September 19, 2020
Without a doubt, one of the biggest talents we found in 2019 was Denver native LALO. A rapper who rose from the ashes of the fallen McNally Smith College of Music, he become one of the most promising independent talents on our pages thanks to a string of impressive EP’s, including the refreshingly eclectic ‘Mirage and Specter’. An artist who found his style by fusing traditional hip-hop with a vibrant plethora of alternative genres, LALO dominated 2019 with a seamless expression of his creative talents, polishing and perfecting a style that uniquely represented his life, sound, and love for the City of Angels.
After a year-long absence from music, LALO has finally returned to centre-stage with the release of ‘Strawberry Ice Kream’, his fourth five-track EP to date, and a deft spiritual successor to his previous work. A personal and expansive project, ‘Strawberry Ice Kream’ arrived at our door with little more information than the simple by-line that said, “What is the flavour of ice cream that is really good but not always ordered? Strawberry”.
For most artists, that sort of line would do little more than draw out blank stares of simple nods of agreement, but LALO isn’t most artists. Boasting five original tracks, the new EP is a masterclass in high quality beats and unyielding lyrical flow. Fading into view with some high-stepping, semi-minimalist beats and a slick, effortless sound, the EP begins with the polished title track, breaking ground with a deft RnB twist that simmers beneath the surface. It’s a perfect example of LALO’s style, delivering plenty of thrills and sharp moments that will impress even the most stoic of fans.
Second cut ’Good Lookin’ Out’ follows suit, but with a more aggressive sound, layering vocal tracks and stitching together elements of different styles to create a true highlight of the EP. Moving forward, ‘Break Me’ doubles down on the alt-rap sound, pushing LALO’s style to the limit, while ‘Free Throws’ and ‘Pass You’ act as strong closing pair, proving their worth with a vibrant illustration of LALO’s more experimental talents. While ‘Free Throws’ is all about his vocals and wordplay, ‘Pass You’ shines through a linger, melodic soundscape, swapping power for poignancy and delivering a classic, emotive sound.
A bold release that more than makes up for his absence, ‘Strawberry Ice Kream’ shines with a newfound creative freedom, delivering immersive melodies, hooks, and harmonies in droves and perfectly illustrating his fresh, uncompromising style. While arguably less diverse than previous releases, the EP grabs you from the very first beat, pulling you into LALO’s sharp creative world and ensuring that you’ll never want to leave.
An essential rap release, ‘Strawberry Ice Kream’ is available now on Soundcloud, Apple Music, and Spotify, making it an unmissable new release for all rap and hip-hop fans.
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