Being angry on a record without turning off your listeners is next to impossible. Undoubtedly the only one who pulled it off flawlessly on a global scale was our talented uncle, Eminem (duh! he’s almost 50). So the rap scene hasn’t had intentionally-exasperating songs in a very long time. And 2020 has apparently decided to give us some good music besides the very sour lemons we’ve all been overloaded with. Accordingly, today’s song is Answers by Levi Cartier, a thunderous masterpiece of absurd strength that lays the soul bare, pushes the listener outside of his comfort zone, and roots lyrical ferocity in a perfectly-executed instrumental.
We have to confess it’s a great privilege for us to be entrusted with this star-quality record as it is a most eccentric, prodigious, and anomalous piece of work. The cover artwork is soul food compared to the Tabasco flavour you get in the actual track. Don’t let the beige coat, the gold chain, or the white boots fool you. As a matter of fact, the first thing that shockingly hits you is realizing Levi Cartier owns his baritone voice right from the jump: “It’s cold and I’m shivering/ Rain won’t stop falling/ If I had a wish I just wish I was ballin’/ I’m broke and I’m pissed/ And this b*tch see me calling/ But she just won’t answer”. We could have sworn by an RnB singer belting out but nope, this is a bonafide rap artist. With a touch of commercial appeal at that.
As Levi Cartier goes to rap the second part of the hook, the perspective becomes more spiritual and intriguing: “Tried to give it to God/ so I went to the altar/ But their disapproval/ Is all they could offer/ Guess God ain’t no talker/ Cause when I be calling/ He never answers, and I just want answers/ (I just want answers yeah) I just want Answers” almost as if he is shifting the blame from the woman to God, aggressively demanding for answers, because at the end of the day isn’t He the one giving the stamp of approval before anything goes down in this world? Very poetic. Very transparent. So not only a rapper but also an A-class songwriter. We’re impressed.
“You trifling b*tch know you got all my text/ When I get out the Feds Imma f*ck on yo sister/ We was in love. You for me. You remember?/ Now ain’t no tellin’ who d*ck been up in ya/ I cross my heart on the bible and crucifix/ I came from nothing and always was joicin‘” We need a second to recover 😮 How Levi Cartier keeps up the anger in his voice never letting his tonality get soft or insecure, not even for a split second, is truly admirable. His flow is surprisingly ever-so-stable while maintaining the uptempo cadence. A natural counterbalance to the very melancholic instrumental that represents the true emotion at the core of this resentment: hurt. We must give huge credit to Levi Cartier for his candid energy and ingenious depiction of unfiltered emotions. This artist is not holding back his frustration, his intent for revenge, his issues with God. He’s simply unapologetically human. We officially stan Levi Cartier.
After a second verse that goes even deeper in the artist’s spiritual relationship dynamic, like admitting this song was written for Him, hoping He’d notice and maybe He’d listen, and still getting no results, we get a grandiose hook repetition that nicely rounds up the record and reminds us that Levi Cartier is an artist of considerable complexity. He granted the audience a nice, swift look into his vocal abilities with each sung answers, that by the way, is sticky AF. You hear that once and the next one you’re try-harding to match his riff.
If you’re feeling especially “peckish” this fall, THIS is the song for you. Answers is a rap record of exigent idealism, an endless succession of unfiltered questions, and a powerful music expansiveness that will satisfy even the toughest of critics.
Song Credits: Levi Cartier, Desmonte Kent (D-Thrilla Beats)
Interview conducted by Mariana Berdianu
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