San Fran up and comer OSWALD chimed in today with with his new EP Ride. With some cool artwork attached to the release, it was hard to resist giving it a listen. Right off the bat the EP is successful on one front, brevity. Coming in at less than 15 minutes the five track release concisely introduces listeners to OSWALD. From the atmospheric samples of the first single “Sea Full of Sharks” to the heartfelt acoustic guitar driven lyricism of “Figure You Out” the EP lays out his range as an artist.
In terms of standout moments, the track “Home” will have you getting lost in its production. Immersive, atmospheric and frankly a little hard to peg, the production is paired well with OSWALD‘s melancholic lyrics. “Found my home while I was running away,” he sings to wrap up the song. The lyrics flow easily together, so much so that you won’t even notice the lack of punchlines. This phenomenon happens throughout the project.
The EP broadens the soundscape a little from what we’re conventionally used to in hip-hop. The song “Figure You Out” blurs the line between hip-hop and acoustic pop enough to make it all feel natural. “Don’t wanna see you around, don’t want to figure you out,” he croons, to both open and close the track. He does rap in the song, but loosely enough for it to feel like his personal take on the genre.
The final track “Alive” hits the ears as a bit of a rude interruption to the EP’s predominantly mellow vibe. The song does come through as an opportunity for OSWALD to rhyme more aggressively and close up the EP with a confident stride.
Ride is a worthwhile listen for anyone a little weary of the patterns that are developing in hip-hop music. With some unique production, intelligent lyrics and an unconventional approach, maybe this is a launch of a fresh new voice.
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