Material: Perhaps a stereotype was meant to be shattered by a non-conforming rapper/ singer from Los Angeles. And perhaps the name of that rapper is Lewy. After all, he is a rare “social conscious” emcee amid the current trap rap era in hip-hop. Lewy is a rapper who sings well, but he sounds nothing like Drake. He’s also a Cuban-American artist who sounds nothing whatsoever like Pitbull. His music is a mixture of lyrical style rap with a complementary touch of a vocal range that is very reminiscent of ‘90s R&B.
Musicianship: In hip-hop, life experiences, inspiration and “the mind” serve as the emcee’s primary instruments. A rapper’s imaginary symphony never stops. And in that respect, Lewy was very well equipped to make his most recent masterpiece, an album called Through My Eyes. Lyrically, his subject matter is reminiscent of J. Cole’s recent material, while he raps in a tone similar to G-Eazy. But his most astonishing gift is his vocal range as a singer, which is similar to Jon B. and Robin Thicke.
Performance: Lewy performed two songs, “The Way You” and “One Too Many.” The club was jam packed from wall to wall. And the stage, on which he performed, was also crowded with several other artists (who had no association with him). Nevertheless, Lewy was confident and charismatic, as the crowd reacted very positively when the DJ played his track and he began to rock the mic.
Summary: Like a slowly rising tidal wave of new music, trap rap began to gain momentum with the emergence of 2 Chainz and Chief Keef in 2012. Since then, the genre has drastically changed the entire landscape of hip-hop and pop culture. Leaving very little space in the limelight for backpack rappers, (social) conscious rappers and lyrical rappers such as Lewy. “Music, lyrics and hip-hop, has changed so much. I feel the true definition of rap gets lost,” said Lewy. “There’s not many people keeping it real. And the people that are, like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar (and) Drake, are only a handful of people. I want to be known for making a mark in hip-hop.” And he just might. A man of convictions, who isn’t in the rap game for the money, women, houses and cars, is a rarified find these days. Especially the ones who can belt out soulful melodies, in several octaves, just as well as they can rap.
The Players: Lewy (aka Lewis Gonzalez), rapper, singer.
Photo by Miguel Costa