Image via Black El

Image via Black El

Black El’s L_ST clocks in at 45 minutes across 12 songs. Not too long to overstay its welcome, not too short that it feels underdone. To put together a project of that length is to signal (whether intentionally or unintentionally) that you have a concise set of thoughts worth sharing together; as evidenced by his run-up of solid singles, El has crafted a cohesive listen worth of being taken as a whole.

With almost all production work being handled by the duo of Durkin and Victor Radz (with one exception, SXMPLELIFE on “Indigo”), L_ST builds atop a cohesive atmosphere uncommon to most current hip-hop albums. A real synergy exists between El and his sound beds, making for a project that can either be taken as excellent mood music or explored as a piece of expressive, personal rapping that dives into childhood, young adulthood, and the dreams of an artist whose daily existence still stands in the way of grander goals.