by Thomas Bedward November 15, 2019
A student of the fallen McNally Smith College of Music, LALO has risen from the ashes to become one of Denver’s most engaging and celebrated rap talents. At just twenty years of age, he’s already an accomplished rapper and artist, as well as a solo star and founder of the iconic RoverBoyz. With a sound built on a deft fusion of traditional hip-hop and contemporary alternative, LALO is driven to create music that best represents his life, style, and love for the City of Angels.
With his talents already proven in releases like 'Mirage and Specter‘ and ‘The Month for Skeletons and Ghosts’, LALO has set his sights on a more personal and expansive project, creating the deeply personal and wonderfully triumphant, ‘Hunting Wendigos’.
A nine-track release that blends reality with wonder and fact with fiction, LALO’s new album is a dynamic balancing act between distinctly opposite themes. On one hand, it’s quick, sharp, and built from moments of creative and personal fervour, but on the other, it’s also purposely constructed and made with a real sense of focus. Blending a stream of audio clips together to create a shifting opening, first cut ‘I’m Trouble’ creeps into focus with shaku production and a wandering gaze, ultimately breaking through the mire with a clean string of vocals from LALO himself. Backed by a minimalist beat, LALO digs deep into the rising alternative hip-hop scene, creating a sound instantly akin to Astronautalis and the Doomtree crew.
Second cut ‘One Two Three’ pushes the tempo and energy, slapping a heavy string of vocals over blaring horns and unwavering bravado. From there, it’s business as usual for LALO and his collaborators, cranking out hits and misses with expediency and constantly hunting for something more. Tracks like ‘Dancing With Ghosts’ and ‘Robert Johnson’ coat themselves in emotion and nostalgia while ‘150’ and ‘I’m As’ shine with guest spots and a focus on social issues. The rest is a patchwork of LALO’s raps and borrowed clips, pushing a familiar technique of blending old sounds into something new. It’s a well-worn technique, but you can’t deny it’s effectiveness on tracks like ’Oh’, the final, seminal song of the piece.
A moving release, the album is perhaps best summed up by LALO’s choice of cover art, showcasing the young artist and his cousin Alex as children in Colorado – “The reason why it felt right is because of the imagination I saw from the photo. I don’t know exactly what we were thinking back then but I do know we were walking towards something and eventually we would end up chasing”.
Ultimately ‘Hunting Wendigos’ is LALO like we’ve never heard him before, offering not just hard-hitting rap hits, but also deep, personal connections that go well beyond the music.
Stream the album today on Spotify above, or on Soundcloud and iTunes.
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