We first heard from Lou Anthony at The Static Dive earlier this month upon the release of his single, “Classy.” That track introduced us to the West Philly rapper’s unique laid back sound and smart lyrical style, and it was our first taste of his forthcoming album. The wait is now over. On August 30th the talented songwriter and producer dropped his brilliant and nuanced debut album, “S.E.L.F: Something Everyone Looks For.”
Three years in the making, the record is the sound of a smart young man who has found himself on the other side of adolescence. It is a tough time for many, when the reality of life is no longer something that can be left to the adults. In 2017, Lou had recently graduated from college and had to deal with the world in which he had landed. It became clear that it was not a world which readily rewarded young black men, even talented, intelligent and ambitious ones like himself.
I dealt with depression, heartbreak, loneliness, you name it. I didn’t see any way out of it, but all I had was my penmanship. So naturally I thought let me try and paint these pictures through lyricism, so you’d know exactly what I was feeling.Lou Anthony
The title “S.E.L.F” is not just a clever acronym. The record explores the artist’s personal growth out of that dark hole. It is the chronicle of his search for his own self, and an acknowledgment of that universal ambition. Over the course of fifteen tracks we follow Anthony as he opens his eyes. He sees things as they are, and calls it like it is. From the defeated late night blunt-fueled drive of “Drive Slow” to the confident declaration of “My Own,” we are listening to the artist understand what it means to be a man. For example, on the track “Right Way” the rapper comes to the mature and heartbreaking realization, “I’ve outgrown the things I love most.”
He looks back at loves, both it’s failures and fond memories on tracks like “Enough” and “Homegirl.” He becomes the captain of his fate on tracks like “Minds and Hours” with lines like, “My world is in my hands. I do it cuz i can. Just the way i planned it.” Some of the record’s most powerful moments come as he acknowledges the reality of being black in America. Or as he says on the track “Woodcrest,” “Is this world good, is this world bad?”
Stylistically the record moves through various shades of downtempo and psychedelic vibes. Trap beats meet old-school breakbeats. Cool R&B peppers tracks like, “Countless.” “Right Way” has a subtle Prince groove to it. “Pay Attention” has flavors of Jazz. Throughout the record, Lou Anthony (who mixed and mastered the album himself) mixes trippy backward tracks with Chill-hop samples and live instrumentation. It is a great sound.
“S.E.L.F: Something Everyone Looks For” is available worldwide on all major streaming services. The record is a significant accomplishment from a skilled artist at the dawn of his career. You can hear “Homegirl” on the Deep Indie Beat playlist. And follow the links below to connect with this exciting new talent.