BY AIDAN CLOET
It’s fair to say that we all vaguely remember the first time we were in love. It was all an unknown. Probably a little messy. Every move, every thought was a risk. First loves are not just about learning how to love someone else, but how to be loved or love yourself.
At 23, the young Montreal rapper, Lou Phelps manages to capture that and other forms of love on his debut album 002 / LOVE ME.
Coming off the heels of his 2017 mixtape 001: Experiments Phelps showcases a natural progression. Phelps covers all of his bases, diving into love at first sight, sexual desire, self-love and infidelity. Immediately with “Fun And Games” Phelps’ introduces himself as a playful yet witty rapper by capturing the sweet, almost sickening innocence of young love. Phelps wears his influences on his sleeve immediately on the chorus with a strong likeness to Andre 3000 and Pharell.
This moment plays almost contrary to the next with “Come Inside” with Phelps as the more experienced lover, revealing far more bravado and confidence. Lyrics like “talk about love / baby use your logic” feature him in more of an active role accompanied by an entertaining feature from Jazz Cartier.
Often backed by funky seductive synths, Phelps hovers and croons over lush beats showcasing a superb and fun wit, cleverly referencing the likes of Nelly, Limp Bizkit, Wesley Snipes and Dragon Ball Z in various bars.
Throughout the record, Phelps is heavily supported with swelling production, deep, snappy drum beats and sensual grooves. Tracks like “Want To (For the Youth)” and “Miss Phatty” all credit Phelps’ brother, Juno award-winning artist, Kaytranada. These soundscapes often provide Phelps with a lively playground that doesn’t go to waste.
Although 002 / LOVE ME spends much of its time unraveling the concepts of relationships and love, Phelps doesn’t allow it to get stale, though at times it can almost feel too late. Tracks like “Tasty” and “August Rain (The Relexion Intro)” have him switch his flow and his tempo just in time. Thankfully, 002 / LOVE ME ends off strong with a more erratic beat and a combative, more energetic Phelps lyrically bouncing on “Want To (For the Youth)” that sounds like not just an encouragement for the young to do as they please, but for himself as well.
002 / LOVE ME will be released September 21.