April 26, 2018
You can tell how much work went into creating Erick Lottary’s latest project. His EP, You Can Tell, which was released on April 20, shows how adept the rapper is at building great songs out of some colossal beats. The beginning of “Week 15” starts with some nasty, gritty synth horns and, to the end of the album, Lottary never lets up. Every production choice, every vocal delivery seems calculated and purposeful. With features from his HomeSkool cohort Kris Kasanova, Cyanca, Harvey Cummings and Eleazar Shafter, and production by Dhurl, Ryan Scott, Ryan Alexy and Jimmy Kelso, the artist formerly known as Lotta has created a high-energy selection of absolute bangers.
Throughout the EP there is some truly solid music production, but Lottary’s rhymes remain in the forefront. He spends 21 minutes opening up about his personal life, relationships and who he is as an artist. There’s a laid-back tone that feels like he’s having a conversation with you. Kris Kasanova joins at the end of the song to add some fire bars that shows the Brooklyn MC is a force to be reckoned with.
There is so much conviction behind the words Lottary spits, that You Can Tell really feels like you’re getting a look directly into his psyche. Ryan Scott provides a hypnotic beat on “Word” that allows Lottary to deliver his truth over it, uninterrupted by distracting flourishes.
“Ball Is Life” showcases Lottary’s wordplay while the end of the track has an abrupt change in beat: everything slows down, becomes heavy, and sounds murky. On “Go” Lottary reflects on his past few years as a rapper. He sings a cheerful chorus and showcases his cadence as a singer on the upbeat track as he delves into the stresses of trying to establish himself and dealing with success.
The two more downtempo tracks “Come Back” and “It Was All Worth It” find Lottary reminiscing on past problematic relationships. The latter is lovely and Charlotte’s Cyanca (who appears on three of the seven songs) really shines through on this track. These confessional tracks humanize Lottary and tackle some of the issues that can tear apart any relationship.
Closing with “Savage,” the shortest track on the EP, Lottary demonstrates what makes this project most effective: leaving you wanting more. The song is bright, fun, and centers around a meandering trumpet line. It ends all too quickly and entices the listener with the option to go ahead and hit play again for another chance to try to soak it all in.