I’m not gonna lie, I tend to distance myself from new hip hop releases. I’m not talking about just any hip hop, I’m talking about hip hop from my generation in particular – the millennials. Influenced wholeheartedly by the Golden Age of Hip Hop, we grew up when Tribe Called Quest, Tupac, NWA, and Jay Z were not just artists, but cultural icons. We matured during the commercialization of the genre, realized it was a suitable career path, and found ways to revamp it to suit our own needs, desires, and the audience that was quickly multiplying with new fans.
But what does this lead to? Nowadays, the game as Hip Hop is called, has become so diluted with releases each day on all of these multiple respective digital platforms (Soundcloud, TIDAL, Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp), that artists have begun to distance themselves from portraying only one genre. It’s not enough. New age artists commonly mix styles amidst sultry electronic synths in between a singing/rapping medley of talent to attract a larger fan base. We see artists who bridge the gap between two career lanes ruling the music business with an iron fist (picture Drake, Pharrell, Kanye), and new artists follow their path because the formula works. That’s just the way it goes. In one way, it’s exciting – so much talent being diversified lends itself to incredible musical performances and eclectic bodies of work. In other ways, its representative of our culture’s complete disapproval of a one track mind, and our inescapable vortex of ADHD.
So, when I hear something that’s fantastic, I’m not going to bead around the bush. And this release right here is superb.
The name: DLRN.
The project: Neon Noir.
What is it? Glad you asked. Neon Noir is an enigmatic reflection of golden age lyricism mixed in between dark roaming synths that take you on a journey through the evolution of Hip Hop. While the duo (Jon Reyes and Sean LaMarr) are reminiscent of an older sound, the combination still distinctively speaks to a new age of Hip Hop that can’t be streamlined to one style. No, these guys take it a step further with anthemic builds characteristic of electronic music, breaks in linguistic wordplay so LaMarr can explore his own vocal range, and multiple features who each give a breath of fresh musical diversification to the project.
Truly, this album is fantastic. Take a listen, relax, and be sure to connect with DLRN on all of their outlets.