Former student releases 13th rap album

By Carl Nadig

DIY rapper and former political science student Emanuel Vinson, in his prolific ambitions, has created 13 albums. At 22 years old, his newest record, “dove” was released Nov. 22.

Last summer, Vinson dubbed himself +, a post-college stage name that stuck after releasing a mixtape.

“I wanted a name that was truly mine,” Vinson said. “What I’ve become is, of course, the people that raised me and the history behind me. But it’s up to me to realize my own destiny and shape my legacy.”

Reborn as +, Vinson’s transformation adds a matured characteristic to “dove.” In some of his earliest work, Vinson experimented with sampling and mixing sound collages of his favorite bands and beats. Now, Vinson mixes his own beats over ominous synths purring in the background of his original tracks. In some of the softer tracks like “Note,” Vinson’s mystical spoken word is hypnotizing and tranquil.

Vinson has a genuine knack for creating a sensual atmosphere with his lyrics while juxtaposing the avant-garde with pop music. Followed behind the prophetically uncanny track “Future Boyfriend,” the album’s spotlight and most catchy tune belongs to “My Brown People,” a poppy track with a racial slur as an earworm. The song’s underlying message of oppression is so stirring, tight and unanticipated from the rest of the album, the rhythmic pattern for “My Brown People” is worthy of being used in Jay Z’s next album.

Even during some of the album’s most convoluted moments — like incorporating reverse snare drums up against pitched-up harmonies — Vinson makes “dove” one of his overall crispier creations.

The only misfortune with this 13th album is its inability to drive past the teasing point and into a climax. For the majority of “dove,” the album’s beat and rhythm feels too neurotic and never breaks into a comprehensive groove. The album spends too much time in the avant-garde spectrum and not enough in coherence. While weirdness may be an explosive quality that earned Lady Gaga a Grammy for her earlier albums, it’s unexpectedly dangerous in “dove.” Especially in the record’s second half, the album feels half complete.

Yet, the emptiness “dove” embodies could be one of its strongest traits. The expectation for + is only raised higher with a matured and talented lyricist. Perhaps, “dove” is a prologue to the upcoming album for +.