18 year-old New Brunswick hip-hop artist Levi Rowan’s debut EP, Nude Beach unfolds like a coming-of-age story. Early in the album, Levi paints a picture of his life growing up in the rural community of Belleisle. It’s a place where gossip travels fast and a bad reputation is hard to shake. Levi learned this early – after fighting back against bullies he found himself labelled as a troublemaker. When the people around you assume nothing but the worst about your character it’s easy to become depressed. Thankfully, Levi found his voice through music.
Some of Levi’s earliest influences by were discovered by scrolling through his sister’s iPod, but one of his biggest idols is his own brother, Adam Sipkema (Motherhood, The Waking Night) whose music made him feel it was possible to create something out of his ideas. It was Levi’s love of poetry that makes him well suited to hip-hop. His hip-hop draws inspiration from the likes of Kid Cudi, Childish Gambino, and Frank Ocean whose influences can be heard on Nude Beach.
Through his music, Levi says that he’s been able to shake the labels he gained in his childhood. People who once disliked him now congratulate him and praise his music.
‘Growin’ Up’, the EP’s first single, introduces listeners to Levi’s excellent lyrical flow over a chill, but catchy beat. He raps about the struggle to meet other people’s expectations and overcoming the labels imposed on him. The song builds with emotion in each line and ends with a mic-drop worthy shout-out to his critics, “All those who doubted, get fucked.”
The fourth track on the EP, ‘Someone Else’ takes a darker turn, but sticks with the theme of growing up (the song and the real life journey) as Levi gets deep and tells listeners the problem is that there will always be someone who is better at something than you are. The lyrics are raw and honest about depression and self-doubt while still being thoughtful and intelligent. Slower verses give way to rapid-fire choruses and the song ends with another great final line, which could easily become a trademark of Levi’s style.
‘Nobody’ is perhaps the most unique track on the album as it sounds like a mixture of blues-rock and rap. As unique as that blend may sound, it is reminiscent of Everlast and demonstrates that Levi’s talents could extend far beyond rap. Despite that possibility, the hip-hop vibes are what make this song great. While Levi could branch out to other genres, he’s found his voice as a rapper and he owns it.
Overall, this is an excellent debut for a young artist. Levi Rowan makes a good first impression with his insightful and intelligent lyrics and will leave listeners humming these catchy beats for days. The only disappointing part of Nude Beach is how short each song feels, but perhaps this is intentional to leave us all wanting more. If so, Levi has certainly succeeded and his future in hip-hop looks bright.
Levi Rowan: FACEBOOK