Whoa! EP, Alizzz
Arkestra Discos, Spain
by Pierre Lestruhaut
Of course 2013 was going to finally see the emergence of that one Spaniard contemporary R&B anthem. And of course it was going to be released on Arkestra Discos. Given that their roster has always expressed their admiration for contemporary R&B, it was a matter of time before someone in the label geared up for their own triumphant moment of post-Weeknd R&B (see also: PBR&B). In an era where Miguel asks if you like drugs, Jeremih has girls wanting to fuck him all the time, and The Weeknd really just wants to ride to the sound of snorting yayo, the collaborative effort between Barcelonian producer Alizzz and singer/rapper Kongo Lacosta, “Champagne”, is that one licentious piece of lascivious crooning and luxurious synths that the Galician label had to give out.
Originally set out to be an instrumental ballad, the addition of Kongo Lacosta’s vocals certainly must have added a whole new dimension to the track. Its appeal lies heavily on the “cuando nado entre tus piernas” romantic metaphorical hook, showing that Kongo Lacosta is poetic enough to reframe something that Danny Brown would refer to as “ate that bitch pussy ‘til she squirted like a dolphin.” But the song is called “Champagne,” and it’s ultimately about that one expensive alcoholic drink that's commonly used as a display of conspicuous consumption to attract the opposite sex (“Cuando yo traje champagne el sexo vino detrás”). By the end of the song, Kongo’s voice is melancholic enough to realize that when finally left to yourself with no champagne left to drink, no pussy left to eat, and still high on coke or whatever (“Don’t leave me alone, drogado y sin alcohol”), the only human contact that’s left is the smell of sexual fluids on your fingers.
Alizzz’s 2012 release Loud EP earned him a name as a promising name in the market of Rustie-like digital maximalism, and the laptop producer’s influence is still present on Whoa!. Eponymous track blatantly bluffs the listener with a laid-back synth intro that’s more suited for downtempo yacht rap, before revealing itself to be an epic build-up towards a maximalist drop that’s given a testosterone boost by adding a bro-ish “Whoa!” chant. But gladly enough, the EP’s biggest strength relies in managing to get rid of all the Rustie comparisons. “In Chains” (Alizz - “In Chains” get it?) weaves a polyrhythmic dancefloor banger around a rave synth sample and female R&B coos, while “Turquoise” is all about downtempo lush 80s synths beauty that can only make you wonder how awesome a collaboration between Alizzz and Madrid hip-hop crew Agorazein could end up being.
Although BFlecha just released what’s likely to be the seminal work among the Arkestra catalogue, Whoa! is the proof that the label’s output has not been devoid of minor gems this year. As a whole, Whoa! works so well because it stimulates so many musical g-spots in such a short of amount of time, making it clear that Alizzz is just the kind of producer that can easily have a solid output on the label by consistently putting out his own instrumentals. What we’re really hoping for though, especially after having listened to “Champagne,” is to see him getting more people to sing over his beats. There’s potential for some truly forward-thinking R&B en español here.