Essentials

Essentials: “Year Two” – Ian Levy (Prod. JNTHN STEIN)

Since getting together on the chill-out tracks "Nowadays" and "R E A L" this pair have made a history of turning expectations on their head - "Year Two" opens up a new chapter in this partnership.

The latest collaboration from Oakland born producer JNTHN STEIN and New Yorker Ian Levy is a refined blend of spoken-word rapping and trimmed beats.

This might seem a strange pairing given Levy’s status as a doctoral student at Columbia University and STEIN’s well-versed knowledge in the production world, but the results are something to behold.

Levy’s adlib-like opening talks about the new chapter in his life, using rap as a means of self discovery, moving towards new activities and following new people. To my ears his flow draws parallels with Calvin Coolidge and Asher Roth, moving from verse to verse with a schoolyard sharpness: his lyrics do the talking even if his “I Love College” drone needs a few listens to warm up to. The man is currently smashing out a EdH in Health Education using Hip-Hop Therapy as a means of treating mental illness in school – it’s not every day a scholar and a rapper grace our airwaves but Ian Levy is both.

As ever, STEIN’s production is solid. Surfing on the wave of his latest releases “Prime” and “Time” this now Brooklyn based beatmaker is on-point at every turn. One to watch in the coming months it’s the production that makes this track for me. His Soundcloud is a plethora of genre-shifting instrumentals and feature based releases that definitely merit a listen.

Since getting together on the chill-out tracks “Nowadays” and “R E A L,” this pair have made a history of turning expectations on their head – “Year Two” opens up a new chapter in this partnership.