lil gohan, a rapper who puts his own spin on the anime-themed plug wave, dropped one of the year’s most enjoyable EP’s within the last week. Asteroids on my Belt! proves that not only is gohan extremely good at singing catchy melodies that blend well with the cluttered, warped beats offered by producer $aiko, but that he has the vocal talents to carry his songs into truly epic sonic fields. Although all three of these songs are heavily autotuned, the artist’s talent still shines through. ‘holdin me back’ sounds like the rise of the morning sun, the production forming a shiny backdrop for the saturated soul hook. ‘Why did it take me so long to realise that something was wrong?’ laments gohan through the murky mixing.

ice heal’ is more flamboyant, the rapper become less decipherable as the song progresses. This song matches the mystical energy of the first, they really feel like a rebirth for an already well-established member of the rap community. Previous material (Saiyans on Earth!) featured the vocal technicality but lacked the chemistry that these songs provide. gohan’s firmer grip on melodic songwriting has significantly improved the quality of gohan’s balladeering. His voice is basically an instrument here, vocal layering cascading into the void as synths vibrate across the sonic landscape.

hunnit band juug’ sounds much more like the gohan we know and love, his flow more grounded and gutter. The beat is less ambitious and more of a honed, fine-tuned version of the archetype plug sound. It was smart to cap the EP off like this, as it reminds long-time fans of the strengths of gohan’s sound, shortly after he proves how immensely different he intends the shape of his future material to be.

Listen to Asteroids on my Belt! here.

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