A loosie from one of the Town’s best MCs. La — and frequent collaborator Jester — go solar psychedelic on “Aura.”
La shot over this loosie yesterday, or the day before, fuck it I can’t remember, it’s too hot out. Produced by Jester sometime in 2009, “So Good” is about a bomb-ass girl. The Colonel has nothing to do whatsoever with this joint, it’s just there was no track artwork and the image you see above is the second one that comes up when Google image searching “so good”. Somehow it applies, though.
Twitter trolling led me to this unreleased joint from the MC La and frequently collaborator Jester. Get wit’ it below.
“Liars” is an outtake from the next album by La and Jester, Life of a Salesman. The MC informs me the team will be releasing a number of songs that didn’t make the final album cut. Stay tuned.
Somewhere inside Chev’s 17-track debut album is an outstanding eight to ten song EP, dying to get out. That’s not to say the long-time coming Charles is a disappointment. Rather it’s a greater reflection of an MC who’s had much on his mind for a minute now, too much to adequately express on a few standout guest shots on tracks by more established Town artists (summarized well by the rapper himself, here).
The first time Chev really caught my ear was on “Certitude” (a joint from Common Market’s 2008 Tobacco Road). His deep, commanding delivery added weight to Sabzi’s synth-heavy composition and his reality rap point-of-view counterbalanced RA Scion’s philosophical wanderings. There’s much more of that grounded perspective on Charles. Chev’s preferred lyrical topic is observations on the hustle, and the fact that he’s in the midst of his own makes him an expert. “Simple Math” is an engaging opening track with commanding head-nod courtesy of Jester. “Beau” pays tribute to lost lives and features a dusty jazz-inflected beat by Def Dee. My favorite song here, though, is the Sabzi-produced “Yesterday” which takes Chev’s nostalgic reflections and Hollis Wong-Wear’s swirling guest vocals, and plants them firmly in early 90s R&B territory.
Charles does go on too long, and Chev over-extends himself with the number of verses on a few tracks, but it’s hard to fault him for putting in work. If you’re first hearing him on this album, it’s his vocal aesthetic that will immediately grab you: a low-pitched, technically proficient flow. Chev’s is a fairly new voice in the local scene that resonates much louder than those of many more well-established ones.
Check the preview video for SEALAB 2012 (officially dropping tomorrow). This album marks La’s third time out with his third different producer. Jester gets behind the boards for a full 12 tracks this time, lacing the MC with sample-heavy joints that are less aggressive than Roll With the Winners but more contemporary than Gravity. The title of the album references the eponymous cartoon series from the early 1970’s and the Adult Swim redux from 2000.
La is still a problem on the mic, his metaphors and boasts sticking to the beats like darts on corkboard, but LAB is definitely the weakest of his three LP’s. It’s become clear that La can outpace the majority of Town rappers and it’s this blogger’s belief that dude can rhyme about anything and make it sound interesting. For the duration of LAB, however, La concerns himself mostly with two things: weed and sex. And, while this may have been the point, it doesn’t mean it’s as engaging as his previous albums.
The other issue is with Jester’s production. What made Winners such a dynamic listen was the jab-hook-uppercut combination of La’s all-out rhyming-like-his-life-depended-on-it steez and Blu-Ray’s throwback sample slap. Jester’s beats often lack the same authority. Not to say there aren’t highlights: “Dutches” and “Magnums” feature heady, hazy synth and both tracks refreshingly stand apart from anything found in La’s back catalog. And “Goods” is the most radio-ready the MC has ever sounded with a track that pops along in the same mode as Biggie’s “Juicy.”
The other notable aspect of LAB is the presence of some fairly heavy-hitting cameos. I won’t ruin the surprise in advance of the album’s release, but I will say “Diamonds” is a triumphant posse cut that features two of La’s prominent brothers in both rhyme and ethnicity. It’s dope to see accomplished MC’s co-sign for La on his own album, but the greater testament is the fact that their presence isn’t (and never was) necessary to affirm his skills. On his way to local rap stardom, La has held his own consistently. With a few adjustments on the next go-round, his star will grow even brighter.
“Exhibit L” is the final leak off La’s upcoming SEALAB 2012, his full-length collab with producer Jester. La spits autobiographical with razor sharp wit on this track. Based on the two previous drops from LAB, it sounds like the MC has eased his foot up off competing rappers’ necks a bit since last year’s rancorous Roll With The Winners. Dude has a wide array of moods but his flow never seems to suffer when switching between ’em.
“Magnums” is the second leak from La’s next project, SEALAB 2012. Jester on the beat. This song is about getting laid, not the infamous cop show from the 80’s that starred the Patron Saint of Mustaches, Tom Selleck. (Though if it were, La would undoubtedly make it an entertaining song.)
Judging by this and the last drop from SEALAB (“Dutches”), this album promises yet another sound from La. Dude has already shown he can go Golden Era with Gravity (206UP.COM’s top Seattle hip-hop album from 2010) and gully with Roll With The Winners (another standout from last year). The artist formerly known as Language Arts is quickly on his way to shedding his rep as just another battle rapper.