By Jose Mujica
September 30, 2020
There’s power in numbers and the newly minted Charlotte music collective, Living Quarters, aims to showcase some bright energy with the release of Summer Camp, a three-song project that features Te’Jani, Ike Byers, and the Hoodies: Matt Square, Mike Larry, and Tre Ahmad. The full roster for the Living Quarters collective also includes Caelan and R&B songstress Nia J, all of whom collectively showcase an impressive range of style. The first two singles on the Summer Camp project, “Mi Amor” and “1st Grade,” demonstrate an orchestra of catchy melodies, head-bopping rhythms, and a bilingual lyricism that would pique any listener’s interest. But, in their latest single “Switch,” Te’Jani, Ike Byers, Tre Ahmad, Mike Larry, and Matt Square make it known that hard-hitting bangers are also well within their wheelhouse.
The instrumental begins with some noisy synths and disjointed percussion that would sound right at home on an Injury Reserve project. The window-shaking 808s kick in as the first verse starts and the track’s high energy is accentuated by the group yelling “I ain’t flip! I ain’t switch! I ain’t switch up!” over the thundering bass and shrieking synths. It’s not hard to imagine a roomful of kids screaming along to this.
The rapping itself is underplayed on the track but that’s not the worst thing, as a hype stage song isn’t centered around the lyricism. Fortunately, the production and arrangement of “Switch” doesn’t allow the listener to grow bored as it places a slowed-down, R&B break after the second chorus that adds to the intoxicating vibe of the track. The chorus sweeps over the break again as intense as ever, while the instrumental fades out into only the last few menacing chords.
Given the range and versatility in the singles released thus far, and the variety of each member’s artistry, it’s clear that the Living Quarters has an ambitious creative vision. The group goes out of its way to reject any sort of box or labeling in order to transcend, blend, and intersect genres and styles. It remains to be seen how this eclecticism will manifest in a full-length project, but it certainly has our attention.