Curtis Roach is one of those young rappers that has the perspective of an old head. When you combine that with the energy of a 20 year old determined to bring his voice to the world you usually end up with something pretty impressive. Today, his new EP Lellow shows that his creative palate is even broader than we once thought. Like the title implies the project is up beat and sunny. It’s the world seen through young eyes but without the innocence that makes that worldview unrealistic. This is someone that understands the hardships of life, he’s from Detroit and grew up during the recession which hit that city particularly hard. His last album dealt with mental health struggles and his own insecurities. On Lellow he chooses a different perspective. Last year his project Highly Caffeinated generated some serious buzz due to its self-aware lyrics and classic boom bap/lo-fi beats which made it sound like a better version of something you already had in your head, Lellow is a completely fresh sound. It’s danceable and major, some of the tracks on this EP sound like they were produced by Pharell. When I interviewed Curtis a few days ago I asked him about the title and this is what he had to say,
“The project is called, Lellow. Like how babies pronounce yellow. I used to call yellow “lellow” when I was a kid and I feel like that’s what the whole project is. It feels like that foundation that you had, that same sensation that you had as a kid when you would put your hand out the window in the car and you would just watch your hand float in the wind. It’s kind of like that or just the innocence of like a kid just being free and running around.”
The lead single is called “WJIT” which came out a few months ago complete with the video above. It’s a great representation of the album as a whole, but for me the stand out track on the album is “I’m Good!” It’s confident but also humble, playing on all of the different meanings of “I’m good” from something you say to shrug off questions to being a good person and feeling good. The bouncy beat on “Solo” lets Curtis show out lyrically, flipping up his flows and really bringing the wordplay. This project is nothing if not relatable, which is something that he specializes in. I swear you feel all of the lines like you said them yourself.
On Lellow Curtis Roach shows that he’s versatile, clever and optimistic and when you add those up you get an emcee that will be around for a long time.
Check out the full project below.