by Thomas Bedward September 18, 2019
Rising from the ashes of the fallen McNally Smith College of Music, twenty-year-old rapper, artist and songwriter LALO has made his mark by fusing the foundation of traditional Hip-Hop with a maelstrom alternative genres. A Denver native and the founder of the RoverBoyz, a rap collective and musical movement poised to take over the rap game, LALO is an artist currently a the top of his game.
Pronounced ‘lay-low’, his creative stage name comes from two prominent things in his life – his love for the ‘City of Angels’, and his given name. His latest release, ‘Mirage and Specter’ is potentially his most personal and introspective work to date, arriving as a five-track reflection of LALO’s feelings, thoughts and evolving inspirations.
Opening with a rustic cut from the Everly Brothers’ ‘All I Have To Do Is Dream’, the title track quickly transitions into a kaleidoscopic blend of modern beats and lingering harmonic flourishes. It’s a patchwork of the new and old, laying a foundation from which LALO’s verse can flow. A slow-burning anthem, there is a surprising timeless quality to the track that holds firm to every hook. Second cut ‘Chirpity Chirp’ arrives with a more eclectic intro, offering fleeting piano keys and a constant vocal delivery to make build its sound. It’s a simple instrumental refrain that lets LALO’s vocals and delivery shine, ushering in a personal and far more atmospheric sound than most rappers dare to attempt.
Offering a sample of rustic Southern charm, ‘Down South’ burst into existence through a wave of haunting, stretched melodies. It’s a song that builds momentum through a maelstrom of sirens and steady verse, offering another direct look at LALO’s talents on the mic. Fourth cut ‘Drippin The Juice’ holds firm to a similar, but far more sexualised vein, mirroring the style of the previous single before we are finally launched into closing number ‘Love Is a Strong Word for Me’, arguably LALO’s most accomplished song to date.
A vibrant culmination of his various tricks and talents, ‘Love Is a Strong Word for Me’ is personal, involving, and wonderfully authentic, bringing to life a spectrum of diverse melodies and looped harmonies that carry it forward effortlessly. A deft, illustrative force, the final track of the EP captures it’s sound and style perfectly, offering a comprehensive and impossible to ignore piece of contemporary rap.
A refreshingly eclectic piece, there is a wealth of creative freedoms and personal flourishes on show throughout the EP’s five immersive tracks, creating an expansive display of both talent, style, and most importantly, substance. A fine balancing act of classic beats and more modern shades of hip-hop, ‘Mirage and Specter’ is a bold step forward for a brave new talent.
An essential rap release, the EP is available now on Soundcloud, iTunes, and Spotify, making it a dynamic introduction to both LALO and the RoverBoyz.
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