Written By Jessica Brant
I knew nothing of Seattle’s rap scene until I listened to a Lord OLO track. The transplanted Akron, Ohio native goes balls to the wall in his latest 18 track compilation. Goldenfist opens up with “Mellontron,” a short but sweet prelude to our journey, equivalent sounding to a track that plays while the beginning credits role during a cinematic experience taking place in an antique movie theater in the 50s or 60s. Very subdued and The Sound of Music evoking, until the trap kicks in. Then you’re sailing at full speed. The lengthy compilation sweeps us into “Gold,” a 70s funk-infused, kung-fu crunchin’ couch bumpin’ apartment jam. The wordplay gets intricate and he describes the blood of all his adversaries “wining from a tall glass” and tells the police to “make love, make peace and do your job, it’s easy.” The track is defiant but creamy. Wann Sklobi did a fantastic job at arranging. The story is colorfully told.
The mid-section presents us with a tribute to one of music’s greatest legends, James Brown. While the flutes and horns join together in unison, we are taken through the neighborhoods of Lord OLO and the past he’s conceded to but has proven him resourceful. “Stayed on the mission now we’re on to the pay route” he raps over a melodic backdrop. He goes on describe the beat making process when he rhymes,”The beat is now a lady, I’mma beat it like a game, squeeze tight like you maiming peace out you faded.” It’s classic hip hop story telling using the Father as Funk as comparison. The track is a slow but much-needed switch-up placed in the middle of the project.
Goldenfist ‘s penultimate track, “GBC,” brings back the symbolism in household entertainment technology that kept a young Lord OLO preoccupied, as well as serving as inspiration for some of his rap stories. Pokemon and Nintendo were really portals of communication through which the neighborhood kids could relate to each other, despite race or upbringing, Lord OLO explains in his story telling. These games were also sources of contention as every little kid wanted to be the biggest and baddest pokemon master in class. Young OLO found ways to obtain the GBC by “balling on a budget.” GBCs were hot commodities. This trading and selling of money and technology at a young age are indicative of structures set up for adulthood. Cash really rules everything around us. Money is power, and the more pokeballs you stack, the more likely you are to cash in. This grind probably followed Lord OLO into his adult career and instead of flinging pokeballs at Charizards he’s tossing records at the people who doubted him. Overall, the mood of the album is on point. It translates into many languages as an artistic procession of dancing thoughts and life experiences.