latobby channels his talents in creating ethereal pluggnB into this excellent twelve-song LP, his last full-length release in 2021
latobby–a rapper and artist in the 6ixtyw0rld collective–has already had a prolific year in 2022, dropping both a full-length effort and an EP within the first two months of the year. Last year, however, he dropped an LP titled ‘lato da most wanted’ that flew a bit under the radar to new fans, especially compared to the success of ‘Pretty Please Deluxe’. Released in September of 2021, it features some of latobby’s best vocal performances of last year on top of synth-heavy production, often dark or brooding but countered by bright melodies and uptempo drums in some of the tapes’ more energetic songs. All of these elements coming together result in a sedating, ethereal vibe that remains fairly consistent throughout the 12-track tape.
The first track, ‘2muchpain’, embodies the darker and more downbeat energy that runs through a fair amount of this project. Melancholic string sections and a piano melody combine with a sparse drumline, lato’s slow croon rising in volume and intensity throughout the length of the song. ‘Nevabeenatime’ has a similar simplicity to it with only a synth pad and electric piano comprising the basic melodic elements of the song, latobby’s own performance creating a wide array of harmonies until the last seconds of the song, after the instrument stops playing.
The tape takes a more upbeat turn at the anthemic ‘2CUPSUP’, with his melodic refrain of “Two cups up / Bitch I’m fucked up” on top of a dazzling plucked synth and frenetic drumline creating one of the most replayable cuts. ‘crybbylato’ starts out a bit more low-key than its predecessor, but the menacing synths, knocking kicks, and hypnotic vocal performance in the back half more than make up for any dip in energy. ‘4dareal’ has some of the tapes most standout melodies and flows over a very low-key, ethereal instrumental, with fewer effects present on his voice throughout his verse before it fades out entirely into the song’s downtempo outro. ‘relays’ is a stunning effort from latobby and frequent collaborator/fellow 6ixtyw0rld member Xellfromhell, and features both of them delivering high-energy verses over an energetic plugg beat. The frequency in which both latobby and Xell can switch flows and cadences in the span of a two-minute song is amazing, with neither verse lacking in substance or style.
‘gogeus freestyle’ features latobby in a much more relaxed state, trading vocal melodies and harmonies for exceptional flows. It features some of his least processed vocals on the tape, crooning and rapping over a midtempo instrumental with heavy kicks and a stirring arpeggiated synth. ‘hot for a minute’ is a masterclass in melodic plugg, with lato’s performance on this song sounding absolutely effortless as his vocals bounce between octaves throughout the refrain and verse. The earworm beat and brevity of the track contribute to its incredible replayability. ‘gsta’ is another midtempo track with very sparse drums consisting of a single clap, percs, and eighth-note hi-hats that sit fairly low in the mix under the lone synth pad that lato’s vocals glide over. His cadence remains fairly consistent throughout the tracks’ length, but it doesn’t overstay its welcome at a length of two-and-a-half minutes.
The following song, ‘bestie’, features familiar elements of melodic plugg and pluggnb in the production, latobby’s rapping a little more relaxed throughout his verse yet still very effective in creating a distinct airy atmosphere to the track. The featured artist Tonecold has similar vocal processing, heavy reverb cutting through the mix just below the actual verse, but the underlying melody is still not lost. The intent behind the song ‘bandz intalude’ appears to be just that–an interlude–with latobby’s vocals pitched down and the song itself slowed, sometimes masking lyrics but the refrain of ‘I love making bands’ is still catchy and the interlude makes for a pleasant listen.
The final song, the five-minute ‘most wanted’, opens with an impassioned speech from latobby over the instrumentals’ intro before he drops an amazing verse over the luvdakvsh-produced beat, comprised of a simple drum pattern under shiny synths and jazzy piano lines. As the first half begins to fade out in volume, his performance becomes more melodic, before the instrumental mutes entirely. A short skit plays before the second half begins, latobby’s vocal melodies carrying into the final minute of the song. The instrumental for this section of the track consists simply of a synth bass and reverb-heavy piano chords, closing out with a short verse from latobby as the track begins to fade out once more.
latobby’s output over the past couple of years has been impressive, his consistency and ability in both rapping and engineering himself only shining more as he continues to release music. While there are more recent projects of his that you can check out, such as the aforementioned ‘Pretty Please Deluxe’, ‘lato da most wanted’ was a true gem of 2021, with a great beat selection and top-tier vocal performances from the artist.
– Steve Warner (@xoarctic)