Review Summary: Pop rap is back. And it's respectable!
Picture back the late 80’s, the end of a tragic decade in music. We lose soul legend Marvin Gaye to a horrifying loss of music god, John Lennon. Months and even years after their deaths, we all wondered how these genres will would react and what direction would they go. As their deaths became more of the past, a new genre, Hip-Hop, was bubbling up and about to blow. Hip-Hop was filled with simple beats backed with heavy drums had a unique style that separated them from the others. The big break for the genre came with LL Cool J and the Def Jam label, but I’m sure you know that story. Soon Hip-Hop started to become a solid genre that could hold its own among other top genres. With hip-hop artists wanting to become popular and sell records, there was one option and one option only to make that dream a reality. They had to get on the radio. So what did the people want? What they always want, something catchy and simple. This catchy and simple mind state lead several artists to create a sub-genre we know today as pop-rap. Artists such as DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, LL Cool J, and MC Hammer weren’t concerned about so much about lyric content but rather having a good time and creating something catchy, that fans would eat up. However, pop-rap soon died down after the success of rappers with more serious subject matter, not to mention the incredible rise of G-Funk. Nevertheless, pop-rap still reappears with the occasional artist, and modern pop-rap is still a good chunk of hip-hop radio airplay, but no one has really ever consistently measured up to the 80’s and 90’s veterans of the genre. Theophilus just might be the guy who does.
Lover’s Holiday lyrics have one main focal point, women. What you come to expect, from pop-rap. Though what Theophilus lacks in lyrics diversity, he makes up with a great flow, and when he’s not rapping, a beautiful singing voice which enhances each song tremendously. While others singers may get drowned out in vocal effects, Theophilus uses them for a better overall sound, if the time came he could stand out on his own if these effects weren’t present. Not to say he has doesn’t incredible help from other singers such as Sara Quin in the opener “Why Even Try” and Devonte Hynes and Solange Knowles in the closer, a drum and bass reliant “Flying Oversees”, each guests gives a sweeter taste to the tracks they are featured. However, now matter how greatly he delivers this EP there’s one song I can’t get down with, “Girls Girls $”. It’s largely because the track was obviously built for the club with its constant repeat of “money” and “she got drunk showed her p**** on world star”. Nothing makes the track stand out from your average club tracks.
Now the first artist you will instinctively compare him to is Kid Cudi. A common music listener wouldn’t know the difference between the two. I think this comparison is directly linked because they are both rappers and singers, and that they have similar voice. However, their lyrics and influences are very different. Cudi mainly focuses on weed and its effects, while Theophilus focuses on girls. No to say they’ve never made tracks about other things, but when you think of them that’s the first image that comes to mind. Theophilus is influenced by artists such as Michael Jackson and all different types of genres from R&B to electronic and even post-punk, while Cudi is influenced mainly by alterative hip-hop. They might be similar in sound but different in most other categories.
This EP won’t be for the serious hip-hop listeners. It is more for people who want some fresh singing and well laid out hip hop influenced electronic beats. Those who are skeptical, I say come in with a fresh mind. If you do, you’re in for 20 or so minutes of the best pop-rap this year.