Published Aug 07, 2020Seattle-based hip-hop producer L'Orange and North Carolina rapper Solemn Brigham have only been creating music together as Marlowe since 2018, but have already made waves internationally. The alt-rap project combines incredible vinyl samples, continuous narrative, and unrivalled breakbeats with Brigham's biting vocals. Marlowe came together with the sole purpose of uniting Brigham's social commentary surrounding police brutality and poverty with the eclectic crackle of L'Orange's beats, producing an indie-rap unit comparable to a grittier version of the Avalanches with a substantial helping of Madvillain.
Their self-titled debut was an astonishing mix of vinyl chops and steely raps, their collaborative spark burning bright. Marlowe 2 proves an impressive continuation of Brigham's quickfire vocals and L'Orange's stepped-up breakbeat. "Future Power Sources" deals with blown out brass and grainy trumpet riding throughout the track with scratching and strangled guitar peeking through. Taking a step back, lo-fi vinyl vocal cuts across "Can't Have Me Nothing," with Brigham spitting effortless lyrics ("How could you put up with my ways and never protest, I guess sometimes it really pays to be chosen") and underrated organ pipes making up the base of the beat.
The nostalgia Marlowe 2 throws out also adds to its appeal, with hints of Madvillainy and Mos Def's Black on Both Sides comparable with their own off-kilter and unique approaches to hip-hop. While certainly not the first to approach the genre from such an angle, Marlowe 2 is another foothold for the duo. (Mello Music Group)