Over THREE years ago I put together an artist spotlight on L.A. VanGogh, an artist that continues to progress and innovate. His latest album, Drawback, is another example of what VanGogh can accomplish when put to the test. If you enjoy listening to hip hop, R&B, jazz, gorgeous instrumentation, and intelligent, free-flowing lyrics – you’re in luck. He calls Drawback a mixtape, but it plays like an album – and easily one of the best projects of the year.
VanGogh has never sounded so centered, comfortable, and lyrically apt on these 15 joints. The project carries the theme of open mic performances with skits, marketing, and collaboration between producers, featured artists, and homages to an earlier era of hip hop. One of the best songs on the album, Wicked, moves from jazzy exploration into an off the cuff freestyle over Kendrick Lamar’s hit single DNA (featuring Bella BAHHS.) He moves fearlessly from groovy R&B jams to bare bones freestyles, always accentuating his mellow vocals and strong pen game.
VanGogh examines the intricacies of life, never missing a beat, easing us into his mind that both reflects, questions, and brings us closer to his truth. VanGogh often takes on well known hip hop and R&B instrumentals with courage and innovation. Be sure to check out Pashunfroot, his take on Drake’s cult classic record (which plays easier than the original.)
The sparse skits on Drawback only propel the project forward, giving the listener more to chew on. While the tape screams DIY, it portrays an artist that not only cares about his music but the minute details and overall sequencing of a true full length.