Awkward Love Letters
Reviewed by Kahron Spearman, Fri., May 26, 2017
Making grown and sexy hip-hop albums in 2017 means tightrope walking over an active volcano with horse blinders. Holding to his convictions, rapper/producer DJ Brimlo (Galvin McKinney) evokes growth and true purpose on Awkward Love Letters, a mostly self-produced and soul-steeped reflection of adult love with its accompanying trials and triumphs. Jake Lloyd features vox on the argumentative "Big Guns," where McKinney threatens, "I don't want to have to get your mother involved." It's a funny line, even a little corny, unless you've lived the situation. McKinney's clever lines and rich vocal tone shine on the smooth "So Much More" and 808-driven "If You Ready," an Eighties R&B flavored number. Singer Tempest Barnes dominates "Goodbye Again," providing a woman's perspective to the proceedings. Predictably, missteps ("Countryboy Freestyle," for example) exist on ambitious projects, but the Mississippi native's overarching talent on the ATX scene – utilization of situational context – provides a sturdy platform for future projects.