By Jose Mujica
August 28, 2019
Summer on Central, Erick Lottary’s latest release, is an end-of-summer, Charlotte-centric follow up to his 2018 project, Look Both Ways. Lottary’s been hard at work in the studio and it shows in this five-track EP which demonstrates his development of the melodic style showcased in his previous work. Accompanying the project is a ten-minute documentary that gives a bit more context to Erick’s artistry. In it, Erick discusses his family, his motivations andinspirations, and clearly shows love for Charlotte and its culture, as every shot captures scenes unique to the distinctive neighborhoods in the Queen City.
“Meet me at The Plaza, babe,” the first words uttered on the project, leave no doubt that this is a tape of, by, and for Charlotteans. “Summer on Central” is the introductory track and, despite coming in at barely over a minute long, it sets the mood for the rest of the EP. Slow tempo, dreamy production frames Erick’s reverb-laden vocals as they glide smoothly through the track. Right when you expect the hook to come back in the track ends, leaving the listener eager for more.
The second track, “Drinks In The Sand,” is a dancey number that’s easy to groove to. Afrobeat influences are on full display and this track would not be out of place on Charlotte’s SuCasa playlist. Despite a clear focus on the overall vibe of the track, Lottary does not slack when it comes to lyricism as he confidently reminds us, “I don’t ever overcompensate. I got nothing to prove. I give it all to the point that I’ve got nothing to lose,” before exhibiting his singing prowess that sets him apart from many rap artists.
“By Your Side” has Lottary showing a bit more of his alternative R&B side, crooning his steadfast commitment over quirky backdrop production. Lottary’s vocal delivery particularly stands out. His inflections and intonations make sure you feel every emotion his words want to convey, combined with a catchy flow and echoes of the ad-libs give the song a hypnotic quality.
Not letting you forget about his hip hop roots, Lottary comes ready with the bars for “WCW,” the fourth track featuring Charlotte hip hop legend, Elevator Jay. The horns give it a certain celebratory feel before the beat switches to a bouncier drum and bass sound that highlights the vocals on the chorus. Elevator Jay’s feature consists of subtle, understated backing vocals that serve well as a bookend to the song.
Lottary ends his project with “Wrong Time,” an uptempo number that carries that particularly Caribbean vibe he’s made his own. A guitar solo guides us toward the end and, with it, the overall project as it fades into sounds of seagulls and waves crashing upon the shore. A musical metaphor for the end of summer.
With Summer On Central, it certainly seems like Erick Lottary has grown into his own voice and style. The project captures the mood of sweaty carefree nights at the dancehall, fleeting summer romances, and the bliss that comes with living in the moment and enjoying life for what it’s worth. It’s an ode to Plaza Midwood and Central Avenue, where most of the artist’s nights begin and end. Summer may soon be over, but is seems like Erick Lottary is just warming up.