Loaneski – Welcome To Babylon – EP Review
Dig it. You know I’m always down to listen to some socially conscious Hip-Hop!
Especially when you’re hittin’ bars on beats like these – Loaneski’s got some really great thangs goin’ on with the music & rhymes you’ll find on his brand-new Welcome To Babylon EP. Busting out of the UK, according to legend and what Google will tell me, Loaneski’s been rippin’ it up in the independent music-scene for quite some time now…he’s been in crews in the past, and solo since around 2014. Dude’s got a bunch of singles & collaboration cuts out there online, in addition to his records the Black Thoughts EP (2014) and Lone Wolf in (2017). Point is, though the Welcome To Babylon EP is only his third official release as Loaneski so far, he’s a solid veteran of the Rap game that knows his way around the m-i-c. He’s well-established in the scene with a reputation of audio-excellence & a true dedication to bringing the knowledge straight to the people through cuts they’ll truly want to turn straight up.
Recognize the flavor y’all, cause it’s on display immediately with the first track “Air Force 1s.” My ears are always attracted to a rad glitch edit, which you’ll find at the beginning of this opening track before the whole atmosphere starts kickin’ it with a smooth & chill beat, combined with hints of jazz on-point. I gotta admit, I was sold on the sound before Loaneski even hit the mic…he just happened to make things even more entertaining once he officially arrived. Lyrically, it’s clear this dude has a ton to offer – these bars are loaded with social commentary & personal insight…all enticing to listen to for the information itself, and of course, combined with the slick flow from Loaneski, it’s like learning, but like, FUN too. So on that front, at least people that don’t wanna learn something ain’t gonna start running away – you got cuts that shine on the surface for the character & hooks you’ll find on the Welcome To Babylon EP, and the deeper you dig, the more you’ll find. Love the vibes on this bass/piano combo goin’ on, love the additional samples in the atmosphere swirling around in the hooks of the chorus, love the fact that with each & every bar you hear from Loaneski, he’s genuinely got something to say. Sometimes it’s personal, sometimes it applies to each & every one of us, sometimes he’s got general knowledge-bombs we can all benefit from hearing…he’s an emcee that’s prepared to speak his mind and ready to lead the way to a better tomorrow. “My dreams made me broke – and if you don’t risk it then how would you know?” – that’s a line that Loaneski busts out before the end of “Air Force 1s” and it’s an important one that pretty much sums up the mindset & attitude of this emcee in the most powerful way he could put it. That’s the kind of line that makes you stop & think about it for a minute or two…that’s about as much truth as a rapper can spit right there in that line is what that is…and I think there’s a ton of artists & dreamers out there that can certainly relate, one way or the other. I’ve sacrificed just about everything to grind to where I’m at today…and just like Loaneski, I carry it as a badge of honor that chasing my own dreams made me broke in the process, at least at one point. As I’ve said many times, I’m not driving a Bentley by any stretch…but that’s never been success to me…what success is to me, is the freedom & capability to do what I truly love each & every day – I have the feeling Loaneski & I share this in common. He clearly loves to write music that matters…he’s activism in action, which the world certainly needs a whole lot more of – and the enthusiasm & passion he has transmits powerfully on this record.
He’s clearly a thinker…that much is clear as you head into the thick of his thoughts & the emotional gravity found on “Thoughts Of Many.” There’s a more serious vibe attached to the atmosphere of this cut, and you can hear the impact that’s had on the direction of Loaneski’s mindset here. He’ll go into thoughts as dark as potentially ending it all, depression, judgment, individuality verses society; but he’ll also make sure to balance that out with a bit of optimism found within & a slick reference to RUN DMC. For the vast majority though, things get pretty heavy & contemplative throughout the bars of “Thoughts Of Many” – a great title for the fact that, ultimately, he’s expressing a lot of personal thoughts on this song, but by the implication of the title itself, he’s also saying he’s not & we’re not alone. Excellent mix of tension in the music and a realness from Loaneski that matters…you can hear he’s unfiltered here on “Thoughts Of Many” – not that he’ll ever hold back on ya, but you can hear how much he’s diving deep into the darkest corners of his mind to spit the truth. And he ain’t wrong y’all…believe me, this might not be the exact scenario or similar life as yours, but the feelings, thoughts, and emotions you’ll find on “Thoughts Of Many” are ones that we universally share, at the very least, at some point. I think we can all relate to depression for sure…and hopefully most of us are woke to how the system is working against us…listen to Loaneski’s observations on honesty verses policy that go down within “Thoughts Of Many” and you’ll hear that he’s got no problem at all taking on politics as well. That’s the thing about leaders like this…wherever they’re needed most, they’ll pop up to help point us towards the light – I feel like there’s a ton of leadership in this emcee; he’s got the gift to inform & unify through his music.
He’s chosen wisely with “Welcome To Babylon” becoming the centerpiece of his third record – this is an extremely interesting & highly appealing tune. I ain’t gonna lie to ya…it’s frustrating because I TOTALLY know where the instrumental sample is being borrowed from and I completely can’t place it right now; I’m actually thinking it might be a score from a Disney film from way back in the day…or at least parts of it…maybe? I know I know it, but I absolutely can’t quite place it for the life of me right now as I’m writing this. I probably wouldn’t have known the name of the cut to begin with, but I can’t even picture where I know it from…BUT…I KNOW that I know it. There’s a good chance it’ll strike that chord of familiarity with YOU too, and “Welcome To Babylon” will pull you in just the same as it did with me in that sense. And I get it, it’s a strange way to describe what I’m hearing…or like, strange to imagine that it would be half as appealing as this truly is, Loaneski’s created something seriously unique and strong on his title-track. The added theatrical drama that you’ll hear in the music sets the stage for his rhymes to make a weighted impact on us as listeners – you feel these bars, because they have an awesome mix of tension, beauty, information, and mad appeal. The contrast is impossible not to notice; the serenity you’ll find in the music and the dreamy sound it has, while Loaneski brings it harder & realer than we’ve heard so far. Don’t get me wrong, he’s been lit since the first bars of “Air Force 1s” began, but you can hear the extra fire & venom in his voice as he attacks the bars on “Welcome To Babylon” – he’s not mincing words here, he’s laying out the gritty, raw, and real right there for y’all to hear…make sure to be listening. His tone of voice is incredible on this cut…you can hear like, similarities to emcees like B-Real or Eminem with the savageness he’s spittin’ with – but again, the reason that edge is in Loaneski’s voice & the chip on his own shoulder still exists, is because there’s a whole lot of injustices happenin’ in this world, and he’s got the courage it takes to speak up & speak out. “Welcome to Babylon, where the rich thrive and the poor suffer” – you see what I’m sayin? These are his words – the first words that you’ll hear on his title-track in fact…and when that beat kicks-in around the forty-five second mark, the man takes flight, laying out the knowledge on the mic and spittin’ truth for every single one of us to hear. Flexing the finesse of a real wordsmith, listen to the impressive way that Loaneski is able to say exactly what he wants to say, exactly how he wants to say it, and at ALL times – dude practically loads a dictionary’s worth of words into his rhymes and everything still comes out clear as day so that we can truly absorb & contemplate all that’s being said. He spends time on these rhymes, that much is more than clear – and by the time we get to hear’em, he’s got all the right pieces of the puzzle in place – there’s more valid insight on this one cut than you’ll find in most artist’s/band’s entire catalogs.
A collaboration in full-effect, I’m a huge fan of what Loaneski creates on “Dear Lord” with a solid assist from his homeboy Jay P lending his talent & time on the bars of this cut. Together, these two bring serious balance to a single-worthy sound – the beat is smooth as it gets to begin with; it was up to these two emcees to really bring this one home and keep that smoothness intact, which they certainly do. As far as potential singles go, I’d be taking a hard look at getting this cut a video too…there’s a ton of accessible sound working in Loaneski’s favor on “Dear Lord” that’s bound to appeal to a ton of ears out there. With Loaneski’s natural cadence and vocal rhythm, he bounces right to the beat of this cut and delivers the goods with remarkable professionalism, precision, and a performance-minded approach. Jay P holds his end of the bargain and keeps the quality in-check, laying down a solid set of bars that have their own unique character, charisma, and sound – yet another completely snug fit to the beat that works perfectly with the chilled-out vibes of “Dear Lord.” Loaneski examines the relationship between life & faith with smart imagery in his words to create a clear picture in our minds – he’s a humble dude, he’s not claiming to be perfect himself by any stretch…you get a bit more of a glimpse into Loaneski’s personality on this tune through the lyrics he’s written. Again, he comes at his lyricism with an impressive realism…you’ll hear him refer to ‘we’ quite often, including himself in the observations he’s making about how we interact, what faith means to him personally, and the genuine struggle that exists between just being human & following our instincts while trying to lead a life on the straight & narrow. Dude writes real thought-provoking rhymes…my brain appreciates that, I’m positive yours will too.
“Dialect Architect” appears to get a new life here on the Welcome To Babylon EP – I can find evidence of this cut online that reveals this final cut has been out there on the internet for about three years or so. Still fresh? Absolutely – you bet. And quite honestly? It’s a perfect fit with the other four songs in this set…like, to the point you’d never really know there was that much time in between the material made on this EP, “Dialect Architect” slides right into the end of this set with ease & a ton of welcoming sound. I mean, there’s a REASON this was a single, straight-up, full-stop…well maybe not full-stop, there are several reasons this is a single-worthy cut. Musically, I don’t think this can be beat…the trumpet-based hooks in the muted-melody that works with the beat is a freakin’ masterstroke…this is a genius set of sounds to work with, expertly assembled, produced, and recorded to get the very best out of the main star of the show, which it does. Loaneski works with wild rhythm & groove to his vocals on the final cut from Welcome To Babylon, adding in BIG, memorable hooks to these final moments to send you off on the right notes where you’ll remember this man’s name. He takes on the prison systems, education, violence, judgment, & more, making incredibly relevant points about what’s broken in the school system and how that affects different aspects of life in multiple ways later on. I’d assume, like most writers out there, that Loaneski is writing from his own personal experience…that he’s had to put up with some trouble in school & judgment of his own growing up. To that I’d say, look who’s having the last laugh now homie! What might have once held him back in life, Loaneski has completely broken free from – the skills that might have not been sharp enough for whatever school was trying to teach, have morphed into much more useful skillset he’s rocking with now, right in the spotlight where he belongs. No joke though, don’t underestimate what a muted-trumpet can pull off – I couldn’t take my ears off the music on this final cut and think it was a really smart move on Loaneski’s part to include this tried, tested, & true single here at the end of his new EP. He’s been wildly entertaining from beginning to end – and the depths of realness you’ll find on this record reveal an emcee that’s as down to earth & grounded as they come, with the spirit, ability, and inspiration to rise up & lead the charge towards a better tomorrow. Dig what Loaneski is all about – he’s created a really tight set on Welcome To Babylon.
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