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Leol “Move”

Texture isn’t just a physical property; it’s a sonic element as well, and when channeled in the right direction, it can hold just as much weight as any lyric would. Leol gets his new single “Move” off the ground with a heavy dose of textural presence on the instrumental faceting of the track, but don’t go calling him postmodern pop – his is a uniquely hip-hop-oriented path. The stylization of the beats begins and ends with the gorgeously fashioned muscularity that exists in each of the melodic instruments here, feeding into a larger-than-life feeling Leol carries with him behind the mic perfectly. 

The lyrics are as light as their delivery is in “Move.” The backend of the mix is busy, but this doesn’t impede the catharsis he’s looking to unlock on the other side of the hook so much as it extends the natural tension behind the verse well beyond what it would have done in this setting. As far as the clandestine groove in this track goes, it’s reason enough to pile on the critical acclaim, in my opinion. There’s not a lot of separation between the bassline and the percussion, and I don’t think that there needed to be much space breaking up the two. Leol certainly knows how to get the most out of a tight arrangement, and if that wasn’t the consensus ahead of “Move,” I think it’s going to be once this single has a chance to find its wings on FM radio.

There’s been a steady uptick in straightforwardness among the trap community lately, but the alternative rappers I’ve been listening to out of the American and British undergrounds have been far more willing to go out on a limb with a concept, Leol included. “Move” has a certain swagger in its bones that comes with being able to try something no other players are doing – knowing that you’re essentially contributing to a collective without having to sell your soul. He’s got that swagger all over the studio in this performance, and where others are content stuntin’ with recycled hooks from the mid-00s, this man is looking to enter the future. 

I’ve been turned on to Leol’s music for a hot minute now, and it’s only getting more interesting for his story as “Move” makes its way onto record store shelves this September. It was a rough summer for hip-hop with the status of live concerts swaying back and forth rather pendulously, but the studio titans of the underground are starting to make it known that creative evolution has not ceased for the indie rap scene, but rather pooling in a way that it’s never been allowed to before. Leol is a part of history, and he wants to be remembered quite fondly by the looks of this sweet new studio work. 

Mindy McCall



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