The ever-captivating Koal Plae has clearly dedicated himself entirely to this latest project. Bringing back that immediately smooth, quietly confident vocal style, engaging rhythms and varied flows, superb story-telling and intelligent bars alike, Beautiful. Idiot. is a profoundly unique, endlessly impressive EP.
Shine Through kicks things off on an absolute high. Featuring a cleverly stylish, refreshing soundscape, loaded with delicacy and detail that help elevate it way above the vast majority of indie hip hop tracks, the song balances the beauty of an addictive hook, with the absolute power and sharpness of Koal’s writing. All at once there’s an ambient anthem to escape into, and a deeply human, intimate, truthful outpouring – allowing for a quick connection to the man behind the music.
Realize follows and features Wavy Heinz and Britney Lambert, a level of dynamic that suits the movement of the track. Koal finds his flow to a supreme degree, toying with vocal rhythm and lyrical expression in a fascinating manner. That Outkast influence stands tall in the tone, elsewhere there’s a clear depth that outshines any desire to simply fill the room with noise; there’s a purpose to this music. Categorically a track worth more than a few listens to truly capture every moment.
Harder then lives up to its name with a fast-pace and a clear set of intentions. Always Koal sticks to the topic at hand, throughout everything from the lyrics to the delivery to the musical choices. A classic hip hop anthem that subtly but surely leaves its mark.
Britney Lambert returns to help light up the beautifully soulful Free My Mind. Balancing angst and grit with undeniable optimism and self-empowerment, the song adds a classic nineties groove and RnB swagger to the project. Koal’s verse mesmerizes all the more intensely following this introduction. Smart rhymes again stop you in your tracks. Brilliant writing and flawless delivery. The kind of talent and skill that makes you really question the success of some of the bigger names on the scene.
Intersect adds a big-band vibe to the playlist, a spoken word style meets with a colourful set-up that begs for you to check out a live show. Then you get the sudden mellow pause of Time In, misleading with its peaceful and almost folk-kissed soundscape, which evolves to meet with a heavy beat and bass-line; and an anthemic vocal lead that’s quickly addictive. A superb track designed to motivate. Lyrically entrancing, speaking out on behalf of hard work, dedication, and patience. Weible’s feature keeps things contemporary and adds dynamic to the progression.
Perspective preps you for the end with a light-hearted soundscape, classic and simple, and another outpouring of deeply reflective lyricism; complete with a series of smart metaphors. Reruns follows and brings the album to a conceptual, scene-setting finish. The apparent contrast presented by beautiful and idiot comes to light once more as this seemingly specific yet ultimately broad, open-minded track fills the room. Again, well worth more than a few listens to truly grasp the entire concept.
A stunning offering for 2020’s hip hop world. No filler, no moment wasted or faked. Koal Plae is the real deal, and this release tells you everything you need to know about that.