A departure from his previous works, Baewxlff slows it down and channels deeper emotion and personal struggle in his newest project
Baewxlff has been prolific throughout the past year, dropping hits such as the self-produced “wings” and “rain”, an eight-song album titled “Eclipse” (also fully self-produced), and has just recently released his newest project, “Love Dies Too”. Throughout the aforementioned run, Baewxlff has consistently demonstrated his soaring songwriting ability with hard-hitting lyrics and mind-bending flows, along with an evolving and versatile production style ranging from cloud rap to boom-bap to pop, each of which his vocals seem to fit like a glove. All of this isn’t to say he’s shy of collaboration, however; production from the likes of Cogi, Whitemayo, sean.mp3, and more is scattered throughout his extensive discography.
With his most recent project, the six-song “Love Dies Too”, Baewxlff continues to master his craft and explore his versatility throughout the concise collection of tracks, starting with the hazy “Forever, Ever?”, a downtempo cloud rap song that stands as the tone-setting intro for the tape. His pitched vocals float over the filter-heavy instrumental, shifting effortlessly between melodic drawls and abstract flows, and heartbreak-decorated lyrics that eventually fade into a haze as the track comes to a close. “Muse”, the second track, begins in a similar fashion; opening with a downtempo beat, we find Baewxlff exploring themes of nostalgia and lost love once more, pitched vocals drenched in reverb adding to the ethos of the track as an artistic measure.
The first feature on the tape comes from Lil Scumbag, who appears on “Pleasure”, seemingly pitched much like Baewxlff is throughout most of this record. The instrumental is extremely sparse–pads, hi-hat rolls, and soft snares make up most of the composition. Nonetheless, it remains effective, and the harmonies delivered by Baewxlff throughout his blend of rapping and singing throughout the song fill most desire for further development of the instrumentation and constantly demand your attention. The following track (also featuring Lil Scumbag) titled “Cobain” opens with a grungy guitar riff that sheds its filter as the intro drops into the main verse section. Baewxlff continues the slowed + reverb-heavy theme in this song, trading signature sharp lyricism for an extension into singing further than he seems to explore often (bar tracks like “Miles Away”, which is closer to pop than rap). The vocals sound good, to say the least–while it can feel a bit shaky at times, this display is still absolutely unreal to listen to for the first or fifth time, and the emotions Baewxlff attempts to convey through lyrics and melody synchronize and synergize beautifully throughout, all the while adding a bit more to the instrumental than the preceding track without crowding the mix or arrangement.
“Off It”, the next song, is a major tonal shift in the record. The instrumental is drier and significantly more uptempo, closer to late-2000s/early-2010s Southern trap than cloud rap with its glitzy synths and stuttered transitions, and Baewxlff himself enters quickly with a Houston-esque flow and cadence that reminds you that he is a rapper above all else. He absolutely glides on this track, and I believe his ability to craft a great “rap” song has been shown throughout his discography, but to do so and still match the tone of the rest of the project thus far is an impressive feat, given the more melodic nature and forays into singing previous tracks had displayed thus far.
Lastly, “everythingisgonnabealright”, co-produced by Cogi (who is listed as a feature on the track), brings the tempo back down as a fitting outro; after much reminiscence, lyrics filled with nostalgia, heartbreak, and drug use, Baewxlff seems to find resolution in the pain through the music. His verse after the chorus is incredibly impactful, giving significant insight into his mental state over the past months relating to the topics prevalent throughout “Love Dies Too”, but offering reassurance in his security within his musicianship, to both himself and the listener. The outro is somber, with the effect-heavy vocals returning as he bridges back into the hook and a brief instrumental section, dropping the drums in favor of harmony through the pads and occasional bright lead pattern, wrapping up the record as melancholic as it began in sound but offering reprieve within the content itself.
Baewxlff outdoes himself on “Love Dies Too”; the production is stellar, the lyrics delve into familiar topics such as depression and lost romance while avoiding many of the cliche moments that come with them, and he maintains an incredibly cohesive sound that had not yet been explored much throughout his discography, particularly the slowed & reverb-heavy sound popularized by DJ Screw and many others throughout Houston and the rest of the South. His engineering throughout this project is excellent as well, vocals clear and not muddled by the instrumentation or the effects on the vocals themselves, even more impressive considering the amount of self-production this tape features. 2021 has shown an incredible improvement in Baewxlff’s music as he continues to find and solidify his identity, and “Love Dies Too” serves to prove his versatility as not just a rapper, but an artist. The phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” doesn’t seem to apply to Baewxlff–he is determined to master every aspect of his musicianship, and he is well on his way to doing so.
“Love Dies Too” can be found on most streaming services, including but not limited to YouTube.
– Steve Warner (@xoxoarctic)