by Big Flowers
The natural phenomenon of force that is Lungs
Saturation is not a state, it’s a tool. Imbuing any chunk of time with maximal content is a design choice, not a byproduct. Bringing out the most hyper-present versions of indigenous colors is a demonstration of attention and respect, not a programmable slider. To hold every possible crumb of what your hands have capacity for is humility, not over-encumbrance. Spilling over a concrete field of tombstones for fallen flowers, The Birth of LoneSword pins regalia to the novel webs of New New York with zero room for anything else to occupy the time other than a desire for more when it’s over. Lungs has been constantly and frequently sharpening his blade in the past several years, surrounded by contemporary talent in GRIP, releasing countless tapes that give taste after taste of what the young polymath is capable of. With facility, refreshment and exposure in the hallways, Lungs comes to center stage to deliver the most precipitated version of his sound. The tape pours over with sonic sentiment of the city that shaped it, with production spanning subgenre and era of an entirety of NYC hip-hop.
Not thirty seconds into the first song, and Lungs establishes a status quo that there is a lot to be said here. The ludicrous speed of delivery seems eroding at first, ripping a sheen from the subtly, masterfully cut guitar sample. Lungs’ voice sprints over every sixteen, percussing the space left by the beats like a bullet rain, flooding the subways so you have to swim back to what you knew as hip-hop after. The most convenient metaphor behind his raps is a natural phenomenon of force, like a hurricane, a cyclone, a monsoon, a saturation of weather, something you can not take the agency to ignore. Parables, phrases and a lack of punctuation barrel outwards from the bronchioles, compressing the very air before each evacuation of Lungs, a saturation of air with word, something you can’t take the agency to ignore. Instrumentally cavernous, studded with spiced effects, LoneSword blueprints itself with percussive warps and vacuous palms of a swirling acoustic home, a saturation of space, something you can not forget. In several ways, this album reiterates itself through the idea of saturation, and one of the most endearing and convenient ways is the landscape of popped colorways and creatures that vibrate from the cover art, a saturation of a neon palate, something you can’t look away from. All of it adds up to an album evaporating with its own excellence. A race through non-sequitur, an anti-passive approach to populating a beat, Lungs is a model of that idea of saturation, running to the ends of his breath with each passing bar, squeezing every bit of nectar from every moment he has.
There is no way possible to digest this all in one listen, when Lungs is clever, it’s enough to derail you for a second as a listener. In that second, you’ve already missed so much, and that’s something so exciting. What makes this album so compelling is how inviting it is to catch up. Where many quick-format rappers seem to convey hubris with their technique, Lungs relaxes in his torrent. Lungs is not boasting with his speed, it reads of simply being the only way that makes sense. Rap is something too intimate to give gridwork to, and seeing how layered and intricate the bars on this record are saturates the hour of runtime with a presence of self (Lungs) that couldn’t be spoken with words, no matter how many. The perspired sentiments which sweat down the sides of its container, like honor, dignity, humility, they come through on a meta level. A double-edged lexicon, the origin story of Lungs/LoneSword cleanly slices through the surrounding oxygen: a breath in deep space.
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