The Puerto-Rican American rapper, L.A.V. (also known as Luis Lav to family and friends), has finally reached FM radio airplay, with the first station actually being the Canadian Award Winning CKOR-DB 97.7 FM Outlaw Radio. The song that helped him accomplish this tremendous milestone, is Be Alright. With a voice tonality that draws immediate comparison to the likes of Eminem, and with Frank Scotch on the melodic hook, L.A.V. delivered a cheerfully stoic record that exults with self-revealing thoughts and reflective moments.
Kicking off the track with a virtuous prayer, L.A.V. builds up the curiosity for the direction of the song: “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change/ The courage to change the things that I can/ And the wisdom to know the difference”, the first lines already giving off old-soul vibes. And as soon as the intro pans out, Luis marches directly into the first verse: “Yo, I been livin’ in the past for too long/ As much as it hurts, time for me to move on/ Now I got no place – No space to do wrong/ Tryna numb my pain, but the liquor is too strong” letting in the audience on his very personal mental and spiritual anguish. Despite the weighty message, L.A.V. manages to maintain a light dynamic and a clear tint of optimism in his voice.
If the beginning of the song was prone to melancholy, the further we dive in, the more we discover L.A.V gracefully reconstructs his personality and artistic confidence, exhibiting proud acceptance of his humane flawed ways: “But I can only make it better than it used to be/ I used to feel bad, now it’s all good to me/ I can’t change the past – I can’t right my wrongs/ I gotta face the music when I write my songs”.
L.A.V. also proves to have a keen sense of mainstream understanding in Be Alright by having chosen a very classic, very pop-ish, counterbalancing voice for the hook, that of Frank Scotch: “I gotta feelin’… feelin’/ Feelin’… feelin’…feelin’/ It’s all gonna be alright”. The different styles and complete opposite voice registers create a beautiful duality, as each brings to the table essential elements that are complementary to one another. If L.A.V feels like an inexhaustible fire of rap bars and punch lines, Frank Scotch radiates of tranquility and deliberate calmness.
L.A.V. also gifts us with a rather uncommon treat in today’s rap music: a post-hook! Truth be told, I love post hooks, as they usually prolong the hook effect but with plenty of novelty, giving more space and time to the listener to get used to the sticky element of the song. The post-hook goes as follows: “There’s a pain that hurts you/ There’s a pain that makes you/ There’s a pain that breaks you/ There’s a pain that changes you/ It’s all gonna be alright”.
When we focus on the production alone, the voices are very obviously the most emphasized instruments in the mix, with the acoustic guitar adorning the entire composition, and with the electric guitar gently flushing the beat with more aggressive tones. The drums are light on the ears, letting the aforementioned components shine front and center. We like it.
Be Alright is a fine rap record that illustrates very powerful virtues, existential questions along with satisfying resolutions, with L.A.V proving to be an artist of expensive simplicity.
Review by Mariana Berdianu
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