Written By: Michelle Doering
North Carolina native Ivy Sole’s latest EP WEST, delves into what it means to rise above your circumstances and to love where you’re going just as much as where you came from. Her lyrics are raw and honest; mindful of the struggles of her race and her gender but always remaining hopeful and optimistic toward the future. It’s the kind of music that makes you want to put yourself out there and show the world exactly what you’re made of. WEST is something I could imagine myself listening to in the car on the way home from work to wind down from a really stressful day. Its mellow tone and meaningful lyrics combined with Sole’s chill rapping style and soulful singing voice make it the perfect thing to get caught up in when you need to unload all of your worries.
As far as execution goes, to me she’s almost like a perfect blend of Drake and Sade. Her rapping is personal, poetic, and silky smooth, while her singing voice is deep and haunting; ringing with an old-fashioned sense of reality. Her runs are just as flawless as her rhymes and they all seem to transport you to a better and more creative mental space.
My favorite track off of the EP is probably “Rooftop”, an introspective song about heartbreak and not feeling good enough. In it, Ivy croons about missing where she comes from and hoping that her art is enough to protect her from the negativity that’s threatening to invade. It’s a song that anyone who has ever used music as a coping mechanism can relate to and I think it provides a really good idea of who Ivy Sole is and what she’s all about.
Another favorite is the title track “West” which is arguably the most “hardcore” song of them all. It starts off with distant chanting and then drops an infectious beat that Ivy lays out her life story on top of. She pulls no punches, saying things like, “See, I’ve been watching family die since the tender age of 8. So I’ve been scraping funds together, we been tryna make a way.” She talks a lot about her undying love for the south where she was raised, but she also talks about the importance of hustling in the west (AKA west Philadelphia) and what doing so has taught her about life and about herself.
A perfect choice for lovers, dreamers, and fighters of all kinds, WEST is definitely worth your money and time. Highly recommended for fans of rap and R&B alike. Also check out her EP released earlier this year EAST.