Earleybird is the fitting name for artist and rapper Kevin Earley – a creative whose work ethic, passions and abilities seem to shine with natural brightness in everything he crafts. Original Imaginarium is a huge project, an alternative hip hop album that creates unique musically journeys before you and offers an unlimited supply of positive thinking and inspiring ideas.
OHM as an opener is a perfectly entrancing and lyrically brilliant introduction to the artist and this particular project. This track alone floods the airwaves with a seemingly endless number of images and ideas. The soundscape has a fairly minimal, retro feel, and this space lets the words and the artist’s voice appear with all the more authority. At 18 tracks long, you know this album is going take more than a few journeys through it to really take on and appreciate the depth of the content.
Future with My Niece follows and the vibe of the album gets a little clearer, musically. The theme relates to family now, it’s uplifting, hopeful, loaded with heartfelt advice. There’s a little more chaos to the sound, something like the gaming world working in unison with that which is organic and easily replicated in real-time.
Listen to your parents because they drop wisdom, jewels..
You takes the instrumental creativity a little further, adding what is a totally unexpected soundscape for within a modern hip hop album. As you progress through these tracks, two things become very clear – Earleybird has an endless number of topics to write about and express, and he has so many different ways of expressing them. The lyrics are only a part of it. There’s no one more you-er than you is an easily memorable and loving hook that stands tall among this delicate ambiance.
Fly takes things down a uniquely experimental pathway, musically – adding melody and a dreamlike sense of distortion. As always, Earleybird drops wisdom and wordplay throughout. He celebrates the self consistently and encourages the listener to do the same – to love our own differences and everybody else’s.
99 Degrees makes for a classic hip hop moment with a colourful hook and a captivating string of lyrics. Dreams afterwards adds intensely to this aura of pushing forward and working to live your best life. Wherever within this playlist you press play, something bright and inspiring is likely to fall around you. The very essence of the project is this optimism and this self-empowerment – it runs deep and it feels genuine.
Throughout the rest of the album, tracks that stand out include Greater Than – a gentle moment of melodic folk that gives you a little breathing time in between the weight and rhythm of the rap vocal. Animal Jungle adds a level of intrigue and further unpredictable artistry – as well as some stunning poetic outpourings. TwoThumbsUp is rhythmically addictive and offers multiple layers of colour and quirky style. Earleybird’s lyrics veer off down some more lighthearted roads at this point, an easily enjoyable few minutes of music and writing.
During the last third of the album the music and the ideas gather a little more specificity. Brave is a bold example, raw and honest, vulnerable perhaps but appropriately so considering the title. The music is calming and contrasts with the heavy topic presented in the lyrics. It makes it somewhat easier to consider. The whole thing seems genuinely heartfelt and this lets it connect in a profound way. Lost later on offers one of the most recognisable soundscapes and a generally classic feeling piece of hip hop.
The instrumental style of this project makes for a consistent thread throughout the tracks. Earleybird’s voice is obviously the main driving factor, but the set-up of the entire album is also a huge part of what gives it so much character and originality. Through Stun Gun and Her World the distortion and the featured vocal keep a certain vibe alive and well. It’s a little dark, but there’s hope about it too.
Time cleverly marks the final few minutes. A warm synth backdrop accompanies a thoughtful, existentially considerate performance – a strong way to finish and a final reminder of how deeply Earleybird thinks on his life and on the world around him. His music rightfully prompts you to do the same, and more than this – it kindly offers to accompany that process with some creative, comforting vibes.