Black EL — L_ST


I recently wrote up two local music producers, DURKIN and MICHAEL CHRISTMAS. Both those cats have ties to another local hip-hop crooner name of BLACK EL. whose SC-self-released album L_ST just came online last November. This little drop seems to have stirred up waves around the world like that butterfly wingbeat; props have been coming in from as far as Berlin, Sydney, Paris, of course New York, New York, New York and our beloved Boston Globe as well. And no wonder—L_ST is clearly a labor of love and honesty, the essential root ingredients of trill.

EL preemptively marked all 12 tracks as “space wave,” as an echo of his pal Durkin’s “dream club” nomination habit. A chill, spacey, almost islander vibe predominates throughout, owing very clearly to Durkin and VICTOR RADZ’s club-groovy production all over these tracks. And dreams do weave thematically. For instance, in “Olde English 800,” where a young man imagines a Caribbean escape from chilly New England shores as a symbol of the mirage-like youthful aspirations for fame and success evolving into the more adult quest for the deeper joys of life. The attitude here is self-effacing, honest, and poetic. Michael Christmas makes a guest appearance on “Do Not Disturb” to trade some funny rants about suburbia and ‘hood, respectfully, all over a comic pitch-shifted backing track. Fellow Boston flow-captain WAVE LORD gets props too and seems to have lent his deep-voice drops here and elsewhere on the album. My fave track is R&B/house/rap hybrid “Wave Race 64,” which has Durkin’s fingerprints all over it like a BANANASEAT record and also features the voice talents of mystery man CODY JAMES. That R&B element gets further play on “White 95 Maxima,” where EL mixes in some of that speedy ANDRÉ 3000 flow that lit us all up back in the day, and shows up even harder in the next track, “Pac Paranoia.” This album is a listen that took a little time to grow on me but makes great introspective driving music.

With gas at $2 a gallon, maybe time to take a ride?

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