Written By: Fletcher Bonin
Ivy Sole’s 2017 EP East accomplishes a lifetime in just six tracks and twenty-one total minutes. Whether rapping a complex verse or singing a bluesy hook, Ivy Sole is telling a story. She proves equally talented in both regards, transitioning effortlessly from spitting bars to providing a silky hook. Her voice is rich and soulful, drawing us in only to shoot us back out with passionate, edgy rhymes. East will keep you on your toes in the best way. Every song is thought provoking and obsessively composed. Her vocals are complimented by slow, rolling bass hits that give way to glimmering synth instrumentals that back up her breathtaking singing voice. Ivy Sole is equal parts John Legend, Noname, and maybe even a little Drake with her melodious, earworm hooks.
All six tracks seem to be born of personal experience. Her lyrics are complex and intriguing, rapped quickly and swelling into the hook before we can make sense of her story. This is music for the romantic as well as the loner, the eternal optimist and the moody introvert. Perhaps it is the intimacy with which she sings or the personal tone she takes in her rhymes that give East such a sense of comfort and familiarity. Sole accomplishes both a portrayal of her mainstream hip-hop talent while subtly, yet effectively, providing a wonderfully different sound on this latest album.
Personally, my favorite track of the album is ‘Lost’. She begins the track with the smooth, beautifully continuous hook. She sings, “I been lost in the wilderness, and losing my direction, I’ve lost love…thought I had it perfect, I got lost in my thoughts, but you never got lost in my heart.” This lulls us into a false sense of vulnerability, and just as we settle in for a slow, romantic R&B style track, Ivy Sole switches up the pace. She turns on a dime, rapping where before she was singing and snapping us back into attention to keep up with her thoughtful lyrics. She raps, “what time is it, luna looking longing through my window, simple syrup in my stomach, sweet and solace for my table.” She is equally expressive in rapping as she is in the delicate intonations she provides on her hooks. This balance creates a truly awesome amalgam of old and new school hip-hop and soul.
Other tracks that I’d recommend, besides the whole album, are the title track ‘East’ and the final track ‘Life’. Ivy Sole makes complex themes seem simple with her eloquent and organized, beautifully arranged latest album East.