Week in Pop: Dreamend, Joe Gorgeous, lojii

Sjimon Gompers

Fort Worth's next top supermodels—Joe Gorgeous; photographed by Ben Wilbanks.

lojii

The latest from Philadelphia artist lojii; photographed by Visual Thought (Marlin Munoz).

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We have chronicled Philly artist lojii, fka uhlife, who has graced us with consciousness expanding cuts from “no ebola”, “dutti”, to the Swarvy collaboration due rent (via PDX label Fresh Selects) & today we give you a unique listen & look at the anticipated new album lofeye released through Youngbloods. Working with an assembly of atmosphere designing producers from Soulection’s NiceGuyxVinny, HeapRize (New Zealand), thook, Sadhu Gold, Marc Rebillet, Repeated Measures; lojii’s latest effort operates from the earthy lo-fidelity ground with eyes fixed upward toward greater aspirational heights that relayed through an experimental & ethereal aesthetic.

On lofeye the audience travels across the post-industrial complex wastelands of a Philly that feels like something out of Eraserhead. The artist rises off the shelf of introversion with expressive introspection on the opener “spook who sat by da floor”, to the crazed yet calm delivery of “bananos”, chanting down the hype of pandemics & propaganda on “no ebola”, blending the bushes of Ghana with the juxtaposition of Philly’s concrete jungles on “lo in the jungle”. Throughout lofeye the old schoolyard boom-bap is articulated with backpacking wisdom & a tranquil style that advances the feelings & flows to new smoky atmospheres. The ambient mist can be felt on the single “dutti”, to the cool & classic head-ringing “hoo’dah”, entering into the hedonistic temple of “kollaj”, trading expressive verses with Vida Jafari on the sinewy subconscious system of “six9” to the luster & deep hues of “dye”. Senses of danger & tension lurk & material everywhere on the album, experienced on the high-stakes of “chirpin”, the chromatic schemes of “colour”, manifesting matters of consequence on “cause & effect” that continues to dial up the intensity with the fierce “run it down” that leads to the conclusive throne of blood crown-crashing “reignfall”. In lojii’s own words reflecting on the making of lofeye:

lofeye is about working with limited resources and making the highest quality life out of what the f**k you got. It’s when you’re lo-fi by circumstance—not just for aesthetic—but your aim is always higher. In essence, this is an LP about being rooted in the dirt you come from but reaching for the sky above you.

We had a chance to catch up with the Philly artist in the following candid interview session:

The album lofeye has been in the works for a minute. Ultimately how did that experience of creating that record affect you both personally & creatively?

It just made me grow in ways I never have before and realize what I wanted to improve in my artistry and in my life in general.
So many set backs happened during the process that at the end of the day, it’s more a compilation of older songs I curated to exhibit my growth and show what I’ve been through, what I was experimenting with over the years. Don’t listen to it as a reflection of where I’m at now. It’s a soundtrack to where I’ve been. A lot of the tracks, at this point, are 1 – 3 years old.

How do you approach your own lyrical styles these days? Your work has a very deep reflective quality that is packaged in a hypnotic poetic progression.

These days I’m more focused on my flows and melodies than anything else. I’m just evolving my musicality. Beyond that, I approach my lyrics the same way I always have, just being honest about my path and how I view the world.

Catching up with lojii; photographed by LordAzvneXVX.

Describe working with thook, heaprize, NiceGuyxVinny, sadhu gold & more to create those atmospheres.

Me and Vinny usually build our songs together in person. He don’t like to e-mail anything. Never has in all the years I’ve known him.
He’ll only pass the beats via USB. Sadhu is my brother too. We link, light the herb up and catch a vibe. Everyone else blessed me with some instrumentals via e-mail and I spoke to whatever ones spoke to me in a real way.

What do you feel are the principle ingredients for creating a environmental ambiance musically?

You mean what do you need to create a real vibe? Rhythm first. A sense of melody. Letting there be space in the music. Beyond that, an honest heart and an open mind.

What fellow emcees, producers & provocateurs are you really excited about.

Too many to name them all, it’s an amazing era in music right now for real for real. I’ll shoutout who I been knocking this past month though: Moor Mother, BbyMutha, Gita, Swarvy, Mndsgn, Pink Siifu, Asal Hazel, Liv.E, Maxo, Kojey Radical…

There’s more but that’s a dose.

What are some of the most important fields of activism that people need to pay more attention to right now?

The water crisis, the climate crisis, and working against the prison industrial complex.

Next in the cards for lojii?

More life, more art, more expression.

lojii’s lofeye is available now via Youngbloods.

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