North Okanagan hip hop artist Immaculate’s second recording Here and After showcases the rapper’s smooth rapid fire attack and lyric and production savvy.
Immaculate (Julian Wolansky in his civilian guise) sounds confident and committed and has successfully captured the spirit of his progression. He’s expanded his production and presentation since his first 2010 release.
The beats are bigger but sonically contained, and the use of effects is economical and tasteful, colouring the tracks behind Immaculate’s raps and word play.
His content is serious but levity is ever present in the songs. Living up to his name, Immaculate’s performances on this album reveal him to be a leading light in the burgeoning local hip hop scene and community. His raps offer an ear pleasing glimpse of integrity.
He uses biographical references (Burnin Plastic and Immaculate) and themes of dreams, struggles and good times to sculpt classic sounding hip hop.
The dynamics of Immaculate’s raps can rev up to a breakneck pace and contain a lyrical character that adds clarity and musical flow to the tracks. Some have a minor key atmosphere (Here We Are) that enhances the texture.
The use of guest producers brings slightly different moods to the songs. This can be tricky in some situations but the uniformity of style, and strength of content keeps the music solid and compelling.
Into the Night has guitar drones and guest vocalist Darice trading off with Immaculate on a take on modern hip hop inflected R&B. The vibe continues on to the wide and ambitious Waiting, a hooky little epic full of promise.
Immaculate’s got it dialed right in.
––Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon, B.C.–based musician and freelance music critic.