J'von LAKIM Left EP

This J’Von and LAKIM MC + producer collab album came almost out of nowhere.

LAKIM, as you probably already know, is a well-known producer repping the mighty Soulection crew who are currently killing it in Europe. Eschewing his recent trap stylings of heavily compressed drums and poly chords, LAKIM begins the album in a way that reminds me of Exile AM/FM‘s radio transmissions.

In fact this entire collab reminds one of the work of Exile and Dirty Science, who often works with rappers strong with multi-syllables for entire albums (Emanon, Exile x Blu, Exile x Fashawn, Exile x Choosey, etc.)

Returning to a boom bap, pocketed style that I first discovered LAKIM doing, there is not a single trap-oriented half-time banger throughout the whole project, though LAKIM’s signature poly-string sound shows up on the last track.  The back and forth sections with samples/voice manipulations towards the end of “lurk dynamite.comeback” and “jstfornow” makes me reminisce of Quasimoto’s The Unseen, and LAKIM is careful to limit his sonic palette for the sake of crafting an authentic and rap friendly EP.

Using complex rhyme schemes that feel like a dexterous virtuoso juggling bowling pins in traffic, J’von is a rapper unafraid of density, utilizing forced and unforced multi’s for the sake of auditory structure and delight.

When I was young, I went through a rap nerd stage where I damn near counted everyone’s number of syllables rhymed per line, calculating their use of slant rhymes, internal rhymes and double entendres into a score of how much I like the rapper.  Today however, I am content with unquantifiable characteristics like swag and vibe alone, understanding that my DJ sets often require rappers who do not densely ride the beat and allow it to breathe.

The Left EP is sonically solid, though more time is needed for me to understand the concepts within, especially with the density of J’Von’s lyrical maneuvers. However, there are plenty of rhymes and devices that MCs can study in this EP, an exercise in how beautifully syllables can connect over LAKIM “gloombap” beats.

Stream the Left EP here and download for free via Bandcamp via Oakland’s Hot Record Société.

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