This EP was released on February 18th this year. D. Lanham released two of the best EPs that I heard in 2020, so, needless to say, I was really looking forward to this project. The one most obvious difference right away is that Ronesh wasn’t involved in this project at all. This one was completely self produced. I’m assuming that’s why he released it under his full name, Darias Lanham, rather than just D. Lanham. Or maybe he’s just going by his full name now. I don’t know. It don’t matter. I wasn’t really sure if I’d love this EP as much as the collaborations with Ronesh since I’d never heard any of Darias’ own production, but I remained cautiously optimistic.
There aren’t any songs that I dislike here, so I’ll write about the full project in the proper order of the tracklist. The first song is called song 01. The vocals here have what sounds like a fuzzy, lo-fi megaphone filter. It’s thankfully not so overbearing that it makes the actual lyrics difficult to hear. Darias’ flow here felt a little more aggressive than what I typically expect from him. As always, the lyricism here is great. I’ll always appreciate how he seems to actually put effort into what he’s writing rather than just saying some generic bullshit on the mic.
What is change? What is god? Where's the presence in this?
Time's river snatched us up where the sediment shifts
Only learned more tech, not more 'bout the soul
Pushing notions of religions when your spirit ain't whole
No scrolls, end lesson says murder for gold
A camel passing through the eye, better chances than yours
I chant and record, hope it raise a ghost in the shell
That value more than vain ornaments may totem's repel
The folks that revel, all except controlling they selves
What's a mirror when you see your own soul through a veil?
I told Uncle Sam you ain't welcome
Always wagging your finger you ain't helping
You play favorites with your sister's children
So if we adopted, your ass was a pilgrim
Ain't warn for triggers, so won't use other metaphors
Too warm to triggers, why you so desperate to dead us for?
He killed this shit. His melodic production here is actually pretty nice too. I really love how it kinda switched up for the second verse. I think the song is really dope overall. It’s not particularly catchy or anything. The main appeal is just the lyricism, but I enjoyed the production too. song 02 is even better to me. The production here definitely stands out more. It sounds a lot darker and heavier. I actually don’t think it sounds like something that’d be out of place on Ikarus Rising to be honest. I think it’s fantastic. It sounds really lush, like audible gold. Darias killed this shit too. I love the writing here.
Coons cloaked as true folks, gold plated fools' quotes
Heat rays fall like chunks of glaciers, you cool though
I did not need to see the devil lynch Fred
Strange noises in my crib make it live in my head
Judases get elected now, politics is theater
At best a survey for the demons, really leading us
Freedom rings with a buckshot, fascists don't speak
Just parrot propaganda under guidance of elites
This is definitely a major highlight for me. Just like with the first song, the vocals are kinda fuzzed out, but the lyrics aren’t difficult to understand. It’s structured the same way, so it’s just one verse. Everything is just so well done here though, so I can’t even nitpick the straightforward structure. I think the song is dope af. The production on song 03 feels relatively melodic, but similarly rich. I really love the percussion here. The lyricism is top notch too. That line about how the Buddha saw him on the side of the road in his past life was crazy. If you know the story of Siddhartha Gautama hopefully you understand it.
My cipher is a cycle and code
Every 120 take a lifetime if we strolled
Why I rhyme? 'Cause I'm trying to grow
My last life Buddha saw me on the side of the road
Feel like suffering incarnate at times, I can't lie
Talk to ancestors' ghosts in the mist, not in the sky
Chopped conga lines how I chat back in abstract
Can't tune in 'cause my psyche would never snap back
He killed this track. This made it really hard for me to choose a favorite track. I love the production, and the rapping blew me away. song 04 has some really nice percussion, and, once again, Darias’ writing is top notch. Just look at this opening line.
Penitent, my pen attempts requiems for my dreams
This one line is more interesting than some MCs’ entire songs. I don’t really have too much to say about this track since it’s structured the same way as all of the other tracks. I don’t wanna sound like a broken record. All you need to know is that I really like the production—particularly because of the the drums—and the writing is on point, as always. The song is dope as hell.
This is another amazing project from Darias Lanham. It’s clear to me that Ikarus Rising wasn’t a fluke because every other project I’ve heard from him has been just as great. Now I can confirm that he’s also a great producer. These beats are detailed and genuinely entertaining. They’re beyond sufficient. I guess one complaint that some listeners may have is that the songwriting here is a little scant; every track is pretty much just one verse with no hook or bridge or anything like that. However, I personally didn’t give a shit because what’s here is so well done. I don’t care how your song is structured when it’s this well done. This EP gave me more of everything I’ve loved about Darias’ previous material: genuinely captivating lyricism in conjunction with rich, detailed instrumentals. Don’t sleep on this shit. It’s dope af.