Each week Vulture Hound picks a new artist you should definitely be checking out. This week, Cayle tackles the sonic enigma that is Top Dawg Entertainment’s latest signee: Lance Skiiiwalker.
Jay Rock is a walking embodiment of the streets, Ab Soul is the abstract philosopher that raps with a god flow and is half blind. Schoolboy is Schoolboy, with all the overstated genius that entails, SZA is the one with a pen and voice that seem to be in equal abundant genius, Isaiah is her spirit-brother, possessor of personal demons and a honey-dipped flow. Kendrick is… you know what Kendrick is. Lance Skiiiwalker, his debut album Introverted Intuition freshly dropped, is now well and truly part of the TDE family. Out of that illustrious group, Lance Skiiiwalker is the… actually, that might take more than a few words to figure out.
Introverted Intuition is different. So is Lance, to be fair to him. His voice can flip from a nightmarish hawk to melodic Marvin Gaye-esque; the production tends to follow this schizophrenic form of experimentation. What seems to stay relatively constant is Lance’s content – love lost, a rose tinted view of the past. Sometimes it seems like he sings from within a dreamscape.
His interviews are similarly unique, referring to himself as a superhero, blessing us with a far greater analogy of the artists on TDE than I could muster: “Honestly, I kinda see TDE as the X-Men. Like Top being Xavier, and all of us being mutants in a way. We all have our own different talents. X-Men have their own skill sets, you know what I’m saying? We are all different from each other, but we are all great.” Tellingly, amidst all of his obvious singularity, the music still shines through. When it comes to describing what he wants to give people, he is focused and direct. He makes music “for feeling… As long as they felt something throughout the project, I’m happy with it.”
Having come from regular obscurity, Lance carries himself like someone that is confident of his place on the best label in the world. He has had guest spots on Jay Rock’s under-appreciated 90059 and Schoolboy’s hit Blank Face LP, and each feature could have only come from his unique hue. Previously half of the production duo The Rockateers, Lance’s career might have required a lot longer to take off had a chance encounter of the most fortuitous kind not taken place – i.e., Kendrick Lamar walking into a store in LA and digging the beat album he was hearing, asking for the name of the person that made it. If that seems like a glorious slice of fate falling into your lap, the second was making the best of this ‘luck’ – Lance slowly revealing he had aspirations of being an artist in his own right, and now he has an album on the TDE label.
His debut may not be the perfect crystallisation of Lance Skiiiwalker as an artist, and therefore we know there is more to come, different facets of his music, avenues that haven’t been explored yet. For now, we have one of the most enjoyable low key releases of the year. The definition of Introverted Intuition can be found on a variety of different (often unofficial) psychology websites. The consensus seems to point to a person that is withdrawn into themselves in an almost spiritual way, but not to the point of shutting everyone else out – instead, for the point of figuring everyone else out. An introverted intuition will take disparate pieces of the world and deign to fit them into one overarching pattern – Lance’s debut, with its hodgepodge soundscape, encapsulates this way of seeing the world. With Lance, an accomplished young artist in the process of finding his wings, there is a picture emerging, stronger than most for people of his ilk and relative age. We don’t know yet exactly what role he takes yet in TDE – only one album in – but we’ll find out soon enough.
Introverted Intuition is out now via Top Dawg Entertainment.