This past summer, senior Ian Pelton (aka Ian Hues of Mokumbo) released his debut extended play (EP). The four-track “Blue” is a joyful EP to say the least. Its lyrics and upbeat production are nothing short of contagious. Pelton both rapped and produced all four songs, featuring special guests from Mokumbo, who are all Lawrence alumni.
The EP opens with minimal synths and singing performed by Pelton. Throughout the songs, he tastefully blends rap and singing, moving from one to the other—or sometimes both at the same time—effortlessly. After this short intro, the song quickly picks up, with a pulsing beat and thick, ethereal layering of synths and other percussion. This track sets the tone for the three remaining songs, in terms of overall production and subject matter.
Pelton’s beats are catchy, poppy and enjoyable to listen to. They are gritty and grimy at some points, reminiscent of older hip-hop, but also shine a light on melodic synths, giving them a newer sound and something that draws the ear besides the typically focused-on vocals. Recently, more often than not, rappers tend to have beats that can get boring and don’t support the vocals well, but Pelton’s are certainly the opposite.
The subject matter is also a refreshing aspect of the EP. Despite only the second song being entitled “Feel Good,” all four tracks should make you do so. Pelton successfully sings and raps about the girl he loves in a way that doesn’t sound cliché, but rather personal and open.
For those who know me, this is not the type of hip-hop I usually tend to listen to, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is sure to brighten your mood and get stuck in your head, in the good kind of way. Pelton plans to continue to make new music on his own without the rest of the already-graduated Mokumbo. If it’s anything like “Blue,” I’d definitely keep on the lookout.