Published Jul 26, 2018Since the release of the 2017 EP, Ocean & Montana, a collaborative effort between rapper Buddy and producer Kaytranada, the world has been able to see several layers peeled back from the Compton rapper. However, his debut album, Harlan & Alondra, finally reveals the magic behind the Pharrell protégé.
Buddy uses the bulk of the 12-track project to tell his story of growing up in L.A., specifically, the crossroads of Harlan Avenue and Alondra Blvd, where he meets triumph and defeat as much as he does the omnipresent musical history of the West coast. Painting lyrical pictures through catchy melodies and smooth rhymes, Buddy carries a vision of his album forward that's carefree in delivery, but wise in structure.
Buddy, who's no stranger to big name collaborations, taps Ty Dolla $ign for the Trap&B "Hey Up There," as well as Snoop Dogg for the soulful G-funk-infused "The Blue", but it's the A$AP Ferg-assisted "Black" that brings him alive. As the socially conscious single celebrates Buddy's existence as a black man and an "all-black everything" mentality, "Real Life S**t" also acknowledges the less-than-positive experiences that come with it. Similarly, while Buddy calls on Khalid's R&B vocals for "Trippin," it fails in comparison to Buddy's own raw vocals on "Speechless," a sensual song that speaks to his thoughts on sex and relationships.
This duality is present throughout Harlan & Alondra, and by default, drives it to becoming balanced both sonically and contextually. Where elements of G-funk are present, other elements of trap music arise, and when Buddy goes bar-for-bar in his delivery, he slows it down to stretch his singing vocals. In essence, Harlan & Alondra feels like an older album in the same way that Buddy gives the impression of rappers from the past, but when you add in modern day energy, the album becomes very special. (Cool LIL Company)