Akira the Don - Lofi Beats
Akira the Don
One of the most talked about playlist genres of the year was "Lofi Beats". So many playlists to study with, to drive with or to put on at a party start from this idea that in all honesty is a bit murky. There is no genre, specifically, that this kind of music fits in. It's not exactly hip hop, but it borrows from that sentiment quite a bit. You wouldn't call this dance music, but there are plenty of electronic elements and more than enough BPMs at times to get your body moving. It's more so the vibe that this kind of music creates and Akira the Don nails it on the appropriately titled Lofi Beats. This collection of chill electronic hip hop beats have the usual fuzz we find with Lofi music, but it is used with such a light touch on this album. Often when musicians are specifically going for a Lofi sound, they overdue it and the fuzz feels manufactured rather than a natural extension of the music. Not here though, this album slips right into that warm vinyl sound almost instantly. There are some originals and some "lofi" style remixes like "Bound 2" a Kanye West song flipped into a saxophone driven romp. "Over the Rainbow" receives a similar treatment, but goes into this overwhelmingly lovely part where you forget there ever was an original song in the first place. Some of the covers work, while others feel a bit forced and out of place. "Ukulele Sunset" is where things really start to fall apart; This original is clunky and tries to branch out too far from the Lofi Beats concept.
"When You Wish Upon a Star Lofi" is another time where it feels like too much of a reach to make the track actually work. The one thing about Lofi Beats is that they are meant to slip into the background. The beats are recognizable enough to feel comfotable, but not challenging enough to make the listener stand and take notice. It's an interesting position, because it means allowing your music to become background noise, not a place every artist is willing to let their music go. When Akira the Don pushes to much, or gets too cute, that is when the music suffers. There is such a fine line between this kind of music being good and this music being bad. Akria the Don manages the tightrope well, but does falter here and there. In the end Lofi Beats is a solid aggregation of the genre as a whole, but perhaps not the album to push this kind of sound into a mainstream pop zeitgeist. It still works though and is worth a spin.
7.5 out of 10