A. Levy is a New Orleans artist who I’m kicking myself for just now getting up on; his latest LP Reparations is at once assertive, heavy, accessible, and just dripping with flame emoji juice. The 12-song effort — which dropped back in February — is unique in that it’s sound isn’t indicative of his region, nor does it ride any specific waves currently hitting the rocks of the game. It doesn’t even really subscribe to any old school or boom bap vibe.
Off the top, his wordplay is crazy. When researching him, I uncovered a collabo with Skyzoo, which is the way to my heart [pause], so the top to bottom listen was immensely satisfying. There are more than a few highlights; let’s start with the drum-less tracks that allow his vision to sparkle. The super-lyrical “Emancipation” with its soulful 2-minute chorus-less vibe and the ode to fatherhood “Black Boy,” which, as a fellow father, I felt.
“Fuck Rap” was my fave joint; his ode to Hip Hop, which really illustrates his where he came up — “we really debated who was better, Turk or Lil Wayne” — and also uncovered a disappointing story from early in his career when No Limit Records artist Fiend gave him a wrong number after meeting at an event. It also seems to uncover that rap was never his first love with bars like “fuck rap, I wanted to be in the NFL,” and “fuck rap, I wanted to be Claude Monet. I guess the calling was too strong.
He also spends a considerable amount of the project speaking on racial issues — and identities — from different angles. Examples are “Django,” the title-track, and the “If I Was White,” which rhetorical ponders what he would do if he were Caucasian; there are some funny moments, like poking fun at the potential inferior basketball skills, while also showing more thought provoking commentary like not having to worry about police at night, or even have to acknowledge the hardships of African American.
Overall, the LP is well produced, curated, and balanced. If you’re up on A. Levy already, you’ll love it. If not, you’re welcome.