La Cartita --- These past 18 months have seen an uptick in new releases from California rappers outside of the commercial mainstream. In this vein, LA Eyekon offers a new template for modern rap that is miles above a regular Power 106 playlist. Eyekon released 'Cost of Living' on East Town Records, in mid-August of 2018.
A New School SoCal Sound
The track listings are not random. There is a unified sound from start to finish, Drama is a heavy deep synth, segwaying into the track Trust's more airy piano sequence & Next To Me's organ/synth track that has a bit of a G-Funk feel, without sounding cliche. Heard in a series, these three tracks sound like an EP.
On Drama, LA Eyekon shows his age (close to mine), in a good way:
Shit aint a game /
And there's youngesters out here /
And they searching for rank /
And they searching for fame /
And they on Call of Duty /
So they all got good aim...
A 'gamer' reference, slang distantly related to the OG's and visuals that are modern mark the album. People who know the Southern California culture can relate.
For various reasons, some of us can't - and should not - 'claim that life' but we don't turn away from the culture. Call us 'well wishers', but 'ey', we're not fronting - neither is Eyekon.
In the modern era, so many rappers claim to gang-bang, but are grotesquely fraudulent. Thus, LA Eyekon comes across differently - no one can anticipate him getting kidnapped by his own circle, like some other unmentionable individuals.
The Album Highlight: LA Eyekon's 113 Second Freestyle
Have you ever heard of an elevator pitch? An elevator pitch is where an individual, typically, in a professional setting, will approach another individual with an idea that is mutually beneficial. Usually, it involves a business proposition.
Without a chorus, LA Eyekon uses '113 Second Freestyle' almost as a reintroduction to his work - that's his elevator pitch to a new audience, and the best part of the album!
113 Second Freestyle displays LA Eyekon's formidable chops behind the mic. It was a huge risk if the verses flopped since he could've hidden behind his solid engineering. They don't, Eyekon comes accross as someone who could plug his Soundcloud forever if he so chose too, but it looks like the Brownside camp has a new business model in mind.
Collabs: There Are A Few
Listeners of Compton Chapo, Young Drummer Boy & Muhnee, will like their strong showings. The first two can be heard in Thirty, while Muhnee provides the chorus on Fire, a catchy, laid-back California weed song, with Muhnee's vocal range at times not unlike Mia Love's main melody in "Boo'd Up".
LA Eyekon's "Drama" Track off the album 'Cost of Living' (Easttown Records/Brownside)
Unique and wide-ranging, the Los Angeles rap style is inevitably influenced by the Mexican community. And, why shouldn't it be? On consumption alone, Mexicans lead the pack in California, with die hard hip-hop fans supporting the culture constantly through streams, downloads and hardcopy orders.
Since the late 80's to early 90's, Chicanos have made inroads into hip-hop on an artistic level. That is good for hip-hop and good for the Mexican culture.
In the gangster rap genre, reality and grit were the main currency during the 90's. That is where many Southern California rappers have left a mark, with language that is canonized for decades to come.
Predicting who will have a similar effect is difficult. However, we would bet that Eyekon is someone who can redefine the genre stylistically.
True to his name, LA Eyekon employs legitimate visuals on his videos. Drama's video is innovative with its 'first person view' and because Brownside is not corporate, but independent, each punchline, each lyric is unexpected and unique throughout.