Straight flows around 70s soul and gospel samples meet MPCs – the Austin
artist’s first long-player ‘Lend me your ear’ is an impressive statement.
What a pleasurable surprise – when Arod casually jumps from 90s west-coast flows to straight bars over soulful arrangements in the intro, we already know we’re listening to something out of the ordinary of 2020.
Only a very few artists in the last couple of decades showed up with the full package that Arod is offering in these early stages of his promising career, whether it’s that smooth smoky voice, clever rhyme structures, “I feel you” type of bars, or just the impressive harmony between the production and the artist.
His beat-picking is exceptional, this is clearly an album that tells his story – a refreshing take after albums have recently transformed more and more into playlists and collections of unconnected single tracks.
A couple songs in from the Intro, Arod takes us on a ‘Scenic Route’ and shows that he knows how to let his features shine without losing any of his own spotlight on the track.
While the fourth track on the album is the first to introduce very clear trap characteristics in drum patterns and add lips, the song is carried by real bars and an uplifting soul sample.
Next up, ‘Grandma’s Blessing’ has our’s too, as it follows with the same uplifting tempo and drops more insight on Arod’s eventful personal life – a young man raised by his single grandmother to still graduate from high school and only drop out of college to fully dedicate his efforts to his big dreams – a career as a musician.
Born in Austin Texas, the 28-year-old got in touch with rapping first at the age of 7 when his dad would come home from stints in jail and rap to his son and daughter.
The young kid became fascinated with the craft of words and rhyming and never lost any of that fascination. And fascination turned into passion, talent was welcomed with hard work and what we hear is the reasonable result.
There’s artists that only hit the Zeitgeist, the ones that pop up at the right moment, but haven’t got a place neither in the industry nor in you playlist tomorrow.
And then there’s a handful that are timeless. We’d listen to Arod flow over any type of beat if that means we’re getting more lines, more stories, more of his voice.
In D.O.A, the track before the album closer, he goes bar for bar with his demons and his path to success, making very clear he isn’t someone you should aim at for cheap shots or name dropping. Because no matter how much of a soulful composition the LP is, this guy can bury you in bars.
‘Lend me your ear’ rewards us with ‘Problem Child’, another bar filled composition with laid back flow variations over high-pitched soul samples.