LUI – Graduation: The American Dream

 LUI – Graduation: The American Dream

LUI – Graduation: The American Dream – EP Review

“It’s A Mood” for sure, but as the story behind the man goes, everything you’re listening to represents significant accomplishment as well.  LUI’s story takes him all the way back to being “born in the slums of Peru” before he migrated to America, where he pushed himself to get his education.  That’s the short version of a tale that’ll prove he’s lived a whole lotta life already at such a young age, but rest assured he’s made the most of every moment as he found his way to Graduation: The American Dream.  After that, naturally LUI did what we all do after receiving his diploma – he started his professional career as a Rapper.  Alright, alright…maybe he started that before he graduated, but you get the point I’m making – even when we go the educational route, those that have music within us always find our way back to it.  Technically, he’s been dropping tunes onto the internet since around 2018 in the world according to Spotify…he’s naturally bilingual, and he’s got himself a vibe that’s completely relevant for what’s happening right now out there in this music scene we all share.  All signs point to LUI making the right moves, and the man’s putting out quality tunes from performance to production…the future looks good.

As the record begins, you gotta give credit where credit is due, the music’s cross-cultural vibe is one that works.  I’ll be as real with ya as I always am about what I hear…LUI’s really emphasizing those rhyming words to the point where you’ll want a bit more flexibility and variation at first in that regard, but he will eventually go on to give it to ya.  By that same token, it’s that same rhyme scheme that creates a truly defined hook in the vocals that people out there will latch onto, and that’s a positive thing of course.  For myself personally, I like the performance that LUI puts in, the music, and the bilingual aspect – that’s what makes “It’s A Mood” work for me, and I definitely felt like it was more than enticing enough to keep me listening.  It’s got an upbeat vibe and great energy…that’s always good to have in the first cut.

With “Rich Made,” LUI flexes his flexibility more than anything else, and ultimately, it’s tracks like this that show how much potential the man’s really got.  Not only does he pack serious personality into his bars, but listen to the way he’s phrasing his lines & lyrics…there’s dynamic versatility to be found here – the kind that separates you from the rest of what’s out there.  LUI has got the ability to be way different than other rappers out there, and the more he leans into that like he does on “Rich Made,” the further he’s gonna take his career.  When it comes to this particular cut, you can hear how he’s able to spring straight off the beat, or play around with it by stretching out his lyrics into the next bar & such…I’m all about emcees that are willing to be different, because it’s different that gets noticed.  “I ain’t new so don’t get it twisted” – tracks like “Rich Made” confirm what he’s saying is true.  He’s performing at the level most veterans would be proud of…there’s passion, purpose, and conviction in his words.  Beyond that, he’s got the kind of high level style and swagger you wanna hear as he shifts gears while he raps.  “I’ve been lazy…all the years that I’ve been wasting…” – you get the sense that LUI understands he’s gotta get out there and attack the mic if he wants to really make it in this business, and that’s the real key.  Tons of people have talent out there, so at the end of the day, what separates us is how we use it.

“Friends Into Strangers” was one of the most low-key tracks on the EP, but one of the most gripping and effective.  What I also liked about this track is how direct it is – LUI KNOWS he’s special, and he’s not afraid to let the world know.  Anyone that knows who he is, what he’s about, or is listening closely to his lyricism knows he’s actually quite a humble and grounded dude…but that don’t mean you can’t say what we can hear is true at the same time too, you feel me?  “I’m not just anyone” as he says – and he’s right about that…LUI is built with the will to succeed, and thankfully he’s got the talent to back that up.  You combine an intense drive with real skill, and the sky ain’t even the limit, you know what I mean?  So even though there’s no doubt that LUI already sounds impressive, I’d be more than willing to bet he’s going to get even better as time goes on.  I love the music he’s chosen to rap to on “Friends Into Strangers” – all-in-all, this is an insightful track that really allows you to get to know the man behind the m-i-c & get a clear glimpse of the seriously massive potential he’s got for the future of his career ahead.

A track like “Mota” should go a long way to help broaden his audience even more as the new bilingual champion for sure.  I think it’s one thing to have the ability, but it’s another to be confident enough to lead the way in a second language, which is what LUI does as he starts busting up the Spanish to kick things off on “Mota,” reserving his English bars for way later on down the road on this fourth cut on Graduation: The American Dream.  I get it…it might seem like a small detail on paper, but believe me when I tell ya, it will make a huge difference to his audience.  There’s essentially nothing but upside to making a move like this – everyone that speaks Spanish in the Latino community around the globe will greatly appreciate what he’s creating, and with your average whiteys out there, tracks like “Mota” are extremely popular & fashionable right now, even if they don’t understand a single word of what they hear.  Obviously I fall more into that last category myself…I barely understand my own English language and I don’t have half the smarts it would take to learn another language, which I’ve already proven by barely passing introductory courses in French and Italian.  I don’t tend to just fall for trends though, so take it to heart, I think what LUI is creating ain’t just relying on gimmickry to get by – he’s flexing real talent in both languages, true grit in his determination, and style that can’t help but connect to anyone listening.  Above all things, I think he really deserves major credit for continually finding the right kind of music to work with – I’ve been absolutely impressed with each track he’s rapped on throughout this EP.

Dude naturally brings clever contrast to his music too.  On the more low-key cuts like “Friends Into Strangers” or the icy vibes of something like “This Ain’t For The Basics,” you’ll find the man flexing some of his most inarguably intense bars.  He’s got a gift when it comes to the art of performance, and it’s another aspect of his skills that, the more he leans into, the further he’ll go.  He’s got every right and reason to believe in what he does…because quite simply, he’s doing it all so much better than most.  “This Ain’t For The Basics” is damn near gangsta-level genius…LUI sounds like a freakin’ MOB BOSS as he raps his way through this track…and listen to the way he lets his personality ramp up as this cut passes the first minute will ya?  That’s what it’s all about y’all, so pay attention – LUI doesn’t worry about what anyone’s gonna think about what he does, he’s just goin’ where the music takes him, and that’s the real key when it comes right down to it…it’s what unlocks that next level time and time again.  Everything he spits fits so perfectly with the music surrounding him, that the organic fluidity, flow, and finesse he puts into his rhymes has the opportunity to shine each and every time.  You’ll find no complaints from me about what he’s doing…listen to the attention to detail he’s putting into the background!  Not only does he dominate the lead vocals, he makes sure that you’re being entertained at all times by making sure he handles his business in the backing vocals supporting him as well.  By using smart effects, transitioning between both languages with ease, and continuously supplying that swag…LUI’s got the right approach.

Conceptually, ideas-wise, and all hooks considered, I think “Love Understand Inspire” probably has the most potential out of any track on the record if I’m being real with ya.  I’m not as convinced that it has come out as strong as it should have by comparison to the rest on this record, and I feel like there are some spots along the way where LUI could sharpen things up a little bit in his performance on this track, but overall, I’m stoked about what I’m hearing in this final cut & feel like it speaks volumes on behalf of the content of both his music, and certainly his character.  Cleverly turning his own name into an acronym, “this is what I stand for” makes LUI’s “Love Understand Inspire” become a real statement track in his catalog early on.  Best advice I’ve got for him here is to keep an ear on those layered vocals to make sure that they don’t clash, and to make sure he’s got the right energy goin’ on in every second he’s on the mic…he’s real damn close to where he wants to be on “Love Understand Inspire,” and there’s only the occasional moment here & there where you’d even think to question anything he’s doing.  That being said, it’s the slightest moments in music that separate the good from the great…and in this game, or in the boxing ring, you gotta keep your focus up in every second, lest you risk being knocked out, you feel me?  You’ve already read how many positive things I’ve had to say about LUI throughout this review – and like I said at the start of reviewing “Love Understand Inspire,” I think this track has some of the largest potential out of any of this tracks…but we can always get better in our craft, and we can always go on to refine our talents even further as time goes on.  On this last track, he directly asks for a sign to confirm he’s on the right track, and I’m happy to supply that – it’ll only take a single spin through this EP to have you believing in LUI, and the strengths found in his material will definitely have you reaching for another.  Dude’s got something special that the rest don’t have, and I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing how he goes about using that talent he’s got as he continues to thrive over these next years to follow.

Make sure to have a listen to what LUI’s up to on Graduation: The American Dream by following this handy multi-link right here:

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