13 Jul 2024
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And$um - Album Review: The Heroic Adventures of And$um & Lui Mill

21 Jul 2023 // A review by Steve Shyu
Following a string of acclaimed singles, Otautahi Christchurch Hip-Hop artists And$um and Lui Mills have released a brand new collaborative album of seven tracks named The Heroic Adventures of And$um & Lui Mill. The two rap artists have been kicking around the Christchurch Hip-Hop scenes for years, and have put together this LP as a result of their longtime friendship.

Admittedly, I’m someone who’s still on a self-proclaimed journey of discovery, learning and appreciation of rap music and hip-hop. Though I may not know all of the key aspects to said genres, it’s safe enough to state I know what works well and sounds good in a song. Nevertheless, this is about And$um and Lui Mills, not me.

Upon reading that this record is a “slick combination of jazz-rap-inspired elements”, described by the duo themselves, I knew this heroic and adventurous outing would be worth embarking on. So I hit play.

Very first up on my “noteworthy” list? Saxophones. So tastefully employed throughout most tracks, including and not limited to Feeling Fine, Til RIP, Won’t Be The Same. While injecting an air of sophistication, the smooth jazz works incredibly well with the light keyboard notes of the background.

There’s a great deal of clever phrasing throughout many of the song’s verses. From the rhythmic and staccato of I Try featuring Jess Aspinwall, to the flowing and melancholic Been Like That. Line to line, between Lui Mills and And$um, plenty of styles are covered, effortlessly.

Another highlight shows up in Jess Aspinwall’s silken R&B vocals, specifically on Won’t Change Me. Outside of supporting chorus vocals, Jess gets a solo under the spotlight right before the second verse, adding a delicate counterweight to the rapped verses.

A personal standout on this record is the faster-paced Nobody Wants to Hear You Rap. Not only is the change of song speed refreshing against the album’s predominantly mid to slow-tempo, but the lyrics also feature the cheek and snarky attitude that makes hip-hop so appealing to many. The bounce of the beat and the layered choruses evokes an underground rap battle atmosphere, further adding to the energy and playfulness.

Production across all seven tracks is relatively stripped-back, letting the vocals do most of the work, while just a few layers of instruments are needed, all woven over some breezy and light percussion.

Now, nearing the last third of the record one starts to notice similarities in song structures, especially the near-identical number of verses and choruses across the seven songs. To help things breathe, there’s probably merit in letting more instrumental passages shine, especially since the instrumentation is so delectable. Maybe mix things up a little. Like adding in a couple more solo vocal performances. Sometimes it’s nice to let the “music” in “rap music” carry listeners through.

All told, The Heroic Adventures of consists of a unique blend of easy-listening Sunday morning jazz and personal, yet playful hip-hop verses. This is one to put on while out on a weekend stroll, or to soothe oneself after a busy workday. Or if you’re into some tasteful lo-fi rap music made here in Aotearoa New Zealand, be sure to stop by this adventurous little LP.

The Christchurch microcosm of jazz-rap appears to be thriving, and Lui Mill and And$um are here to make sure of it.

 

About And$um

Hailing from the sleepy port town of Lyttelton, And$um is an explosive young hip-hop artist beginning to carve out a real identity.

2019 has been a big step forward for the Christchurch artist. With two full length projects released racking up over 100,000 streams and being included in a variety of Spotify editorial playlists, including the official New Music Friday.

And$um describes his music as "authentic", and seeks to talk about his personal experiences in a relatable way. With a tendency for up-tempo head-bobbing songs, And$um wants to have fun with his music.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for And$um

Releases

Late Nights
Year: 2020
Type: EP
Vol. 1
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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