lil ink crafts a creative mixture of post-punk meets contemporary hip-hop on the infinitely stylish “islands”. The whole of the piece has a spacious yet brooding quality to it. Usage of guitar meets light nimble beats adds to the crispness of the work, meaning that every detail is magnified in full. By far the beating heart of the sound comes from their impeccable vocal delivery. A deep, resonant voice it literally commands the listener’s attention for there is a darkened beauty to be found there. Lyrics further highlight this sense of isolation, for the word choice explores loneliness, isolation, with a cloudy demeanor.
The references abound within the track. On the post-punk side of things, they draw a bit from the heaviness of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, for the deep register of their vocals lends itself nicely to the same approach. Small yet significant riffs give it a defiant ethos akin to Sleaford Mods, but with more polish. Beyond this, the highly autobiographical quality that the verses take on touches upon a similar sense of place that the Koreatown Oddity, Madlib, and MF Doom incorporate in their storylines. Despite all of these influences, lil ink’s approach does is uniquely their own and the way they bring it all together further adds to the thoughtful sensibility of the piece.
A knotted, angular guitar riff opens the track. Twisted about with a bit of glee, the way that it travels adds to the intrepid beauty of the piece. Quite pretty, it serves as the bass from which all else flows. Inclusions of additional elements helps to fully flesh out the spirit of the piece, helping to give it almost a siren song ethos to it. With the atmosphere taking up a large percentage of it, the many layers filter into the fray further adding to its colorful sensibility.
When their voice enters into the sound that’s when things really pop. They have a great deal of personality that plays a large role in terms of all of it coming together. Verses are balanced together making sure each one matters. The word choice too ensures that there is a cutting edge to the cadence in their voice, one that propels it forward. Nor do they slink into anything expected – the beats have a refreshing presence about them, for they bounce off the walls and generally possess a geometry to them, meaning that they grow in surprisingly gorgeous, cinematic ways.
“islands” shows off lil ink’s highly unique approach with a voice that is distinctly their own.