When you drop an EP called Rainforest, you have to be prepared to bring music as luscious, organic and sleek as your project’s namesake. hot dilby, who dropped a seven track offering of this exact name a few days ago, has more than lived up to this expectation by delivering an atmospheric piece of music as vocally diverse as you could expect. Opener ‘Sanford’ begins with glimpses of oriental flavours before launching into a tough boom bap track. The lyrics are incredibly zany, dilby feels like he’s experimenting quite a lot content wise on this one but he emerges on top. The production is layered wonderfully, influence from Kanye’s most recent offerings can be found in the buzzsaw synth interludes and wailed vocoder. ‘In Tune’ is a more upbeat, commercially viable track, as dilby swaps hard, unflinching rapping out for a faster performance delivered in a softer voice. The stark contrast between these two songs not only in tone but in sound instantly made me excited for the remainder of the project.

Clay’ borrows from a number of sources, most notably shades of J. Cole’s constantly shifting flows and choppy production are present. It’s one of dilby’s best rap performances here, latching onto the slippery grooves with ease. The last few lyrics really make this one stand out ‘Can’t wait till I die and see grandma again, know she’ll be so proud’. It’s a little disarming at first, but it quickly becomes evident that dilby’s experimentation is paying off, allowing for the execution of personal lyrical topics without the need to shift the bouncing, elated mood of the song.

Clutch Ho’ is all west coast worship with a small singing section and a mini-rant, this song has many signs that point towards a potentially successful career in this style of rap. He just sounds most at home here, strutting amongst the squeaky clean production with immense confidence. There’s still plenty left to unpack at this point though, ‘Rolling Stone’ is a slow, chilled number and ‘Every-night’ is nocturnal R&B (a sound he all but abandoned on this project) turned on its head by that nostalgic guitar. There really are an amazing number of sounds on display here, so many that the first reaction is to assume the rapper is spreading himself too thin. But, thanks to dilby’s incredible songwriting talents, he makes the vast majority of this material work wonderfully in conjunction with his artistic vision. An incredibly worthwhile EP, and one that ensures I will be checking for more from him in the future.

Listen to the project in full right here.

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