By Jose Mujica
May 5, 2021
Photo: Surf Mitchell
Erick Lottary’s new EP, Safe & Sound, showcases an introspective side of the Charlotte rapper-turned-singer. The new EP leans more on his romantic R&B talents than the typical hip-hop style fans may be accustomed from his earlier work like 2018’s You Can Tell and his latest single, “Give & Go,” featuring Well$ and Deniro Farrar. Only four tracks long and a bit over 10 minutes combined, Lottary packs an impressive amount of grooves and emotionally resonant messages into his latest effort following his 2019 EP, Summer On Central.
On the opening track, “Old You,” Lottary reminisces on his personal and artistic growth within the last few years and illustrates the frustrations of being compared to his past self. In the hook, Lottary sings, “Now I’m not who I was / She said, ‘I just want the old you back’ but who is she to judge / Gotta go before it all goes bad.” Depicting the struggles of a relationship, Lottary waxes melancholy. The track features Durham singer-songwriter, producer, and composer Solomon Fox, who parallels those emotions in his opening line, “I don’t think you ever really loved me / Fell for a 2D image of me.” Fox, a Grammy-nominated producer (“Stand Up” from the film Harriet), offers a solid counterbalance to Lottary, with his shrill background harmonies and straightforward tone.
Starting with soft and celestial piano notes, “Lost & Found,” the second track of the EP produced by Beki, is a brief but sweet number that doesn’t need too long to pull on your heartstrings. Coming in at under two minutes, Lottary contemplates a lost love who has since moved on, and showcases impressive vocal harmonies throughout. The track doesn’t weigh itself down with unnecessary choruses or verses. It’s a quick and dazzling expression of love lost.
Possibly the catchiest track on the project, “Bounce Back” features a sleek instrumental with an ‘80s synth capturing the nostalgia of a past romance. Produced by Smwhereat4am, Lottary bellows, “I took an L then I bounce back,” later stacking lyrics in rhythmic melody, “Got a pass for the past, then I mashed on the gas and you came in last, my bad.” Lottary shows his ability to build captivating inflections on an exhilarating R&B track.
On the final song of the EP, “Magic,” Mique of Durham’s Young Bull joins Lottary on perhaps the most confident track on the project. “Ain’t no time like right now / Always into fighting your doubt,” is a fitting description of the internal conflict many face in relationships. Mique explores the other side of this dynamic with his signature gruff but melodic tone– “Why do you question me? About my whereabouts, and where I be?”– reassuring insecurities while expressing frustration at the lack of trust. The playful track produced by Ryan Scott allows both Lottary and Mique to echo croons on a fitting finale to a brief but entrancing collection of songs.
Overall, Safe & Sound shows a maturation and versatility with Erick Lottary’s R&B ambitions. He adeptly touches on the nuances of love while at the same time illustrating the magical moments therein with a lustrous backdrop of production.
Listen to Erick Lottary‘s latest EP Safe & Sound.