Space is often viewed as the final frontier and many-an-emcee venture into the ether to mold their universes to their likings, be it lawless criminal intentions like Above the Law’s 1993 underground hit Black Mafia Life: The Album or more in-depth forms of allegorical escapism by artists such as Kid CuDi. Levitated was released on June 12th of this year by the duo Levitated Minds. At the surface their music is about self-determination, having a good time, and being so far ahead of those who try keeping others down.
The album started with Finesse produced by Ron Hawk, which truly gave a far-out vibe with the 808s and the almost siren-like sounds at the beginning of the song. Mr. Hawk’s production wouldn’t be out of place on Top 40 radio, so I would personally love to hear more of his works. Lyrically, Finesse is very impressive, hitting the ground running from the get-go. Dre Lavelle and Jody Jo were incredibly solid— showing the listener that they’re not to be trifled with competitively. The only critique is their overreliance of auto-tune throughout this wonderful piece when their actual vocals were all they needed.
Progression is the next song and the first giving of instrumentation provided by Nevel Beats. Contained on here is a more menacing aura that I’m absolutely all for since it has an almost Flatbush Zombies quality. The hook is chant-like and acted as an internal mantra of sorts to justify whatever nefarious deeds need to be done in order to progress the respective futures of Dre and Jody. Even though its only one verse long, between this song and Finesse it’s a perfect one-two punch to start an album.
Already Knowin’ featuring Lil’ Yodaa and produced by Kid Ocean has an ATL bounce to it and is an absolute banger. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Lil’ Yodaa on various U3 Radio broadcasts, and can say without a doubt the man is a highly capable emcee. Dre and Jody show self-awareness of their surroundings, attempting to navigate a society of shady characters. It hits the point straight on and has become my favorite song on the album because everything connects perfectly. The con of this wonderful audio artistry: the five minutes of dead air that made things a bit weird. That part could’ve been corrected during the mixing portion of production.
Alamari Beats did his job with forming the tracks for Workin. The guys took the beat, and made this a hitting declaration to distractions, particularly to women and losers who think the world revolves around them. I love how they focused on having a business before pleasure mindset. This definitely has the potential to become a single. Real is another track produced by Nevel Beats that informs us on the group’s integrity level by how they callout sucka emcees who posture, especially artists who sell-out for material wealth. Lyrically the song is solid, but the production leaves something to be desired, and the auto-tuned hook wasn’t necessary. With that being said, it’s not a bad song just certain elements that didn’t connect.
Man For The Night featuring Liveola, also produced by Alamari Beats, is something dedicated to the ladies. This a nice slow-burn joint I could see myself listening to while driving in a Lamborghini during a warm summer night, and a beautiful woman next to me. It’s definitely another hit single contender with guest emcee Liveola exhibiting his dopeness.
Another joint that’ll have you feeling like a boss is What I Do. With Kid Ocean on beat creation duties, this allowed our main cast of the album to be braggadocio, flossy, and really have fun. But Watchin’ was created for the haters who may be plotting the demise of these young men, but it’s crystal clear that they aren’t falling for the attempts. It’s a powerful song produced by IDB On The Beat, and I love it because it’s to the point and lets the listener know that Levitated Minds aren’t pushovers.
Bang was composed by Alamari Beats and is meant to be a motivational song about fighting for your goals – be it big or small. Both emcees make it a point to show how much they’ve grown into men— it’s all killer, no filler. And Nevel Beats made another sonically astute joint for the song Focus, where once again Dre Lavelle and Jody Jo took their time to talk to the listener. If you’re ever feeling down and confused in a particular struggle, this song and Bang might motivate you through. It’s commendable in these times where not many rappers of today try to uplift— only talk about the glamor and glitz. Focus is a big thumb’s up.
The nearly titular track, How We Levitate, was produced by Kid Ocean and acts as the group’s mission statement which is “to educate our brothers” and “push the negative to a further distance.” What I find cool is the sampling of Malcolm X at the beginning and end of this song. It’s the perfect way to end the album, by uplifting with a message of doing for self.
After listening to this project, I can say without a doubt that you dear reader should check this out. Levitated Minds are an act to keep an eye on, and I’m incredibly eager to hear what they release next. Other than watching movies, I’m sure to enjoy their future works if we’re still under quarantine and in need of something powerful to keep your spirits uplifted.
U3 Radio Writer