Hawaiian solo artist Kalalea surprises all in his latest self-produced EP This Is Country that dropped late last night. The typically characterized reggae artist has pivoted his sound after parting ways with his former Roots Musician Records label, from roots to, dare we say it, more of a trap demeanor??? First off, in this day and age, branching out of your box is a good thing. Genre-bending is at an all-time high. Kalalea, now solo in his recording and mixing endeavors, has produced a work of art that not only encapsulates his true musical trajectory, but further stands as an album for his people. Not all Hawaiians are reggae lovers. In fact, the Big Island represents a huge rural nation, home to farmers, wranglers and the like. Consequently, the ‘island vaquero’ lifestyle is lit.
Unexpected, edgy and masterfully delivered, Kalalea’s new project earns the respect of listeners…
Kalalea explores this theme throughout his new EP and brings its title track to life in this video by hometown friend Makana Weiss. An aerial view of pastures comes to a landing on Kalalea, rocking a white cowboy hat atop a horse. Amid references to tractors, cattle, horses and guns, Kalalea illustrates a day in the life of a country boy. From rise till “singing campfire songs” at night, country life is simple, rewarding, yet demanding. “Get some dirt on your boots, guns you can shoot”, big trucks, Jack Daniels, knives and women — “this is country”.
The best part about this divergent sound is that a reggae artist croons to a hip hop trap beat about the trials and tribulations of country living. Is Kalalea being ironic, you ask? No, he’s just being real. This is a snapshot of life outside of the big city; a hard one, emphasized audibly in deep vocals, a downtrodden tonality and repetitive choruses — a metaphor for the repetitive nature of farm work. Unexpected, edgy and masterfully delivered, Kalalea’s new project earns the respect of listeners not only due to the entire project being DIY off his new Kalalea Studios label, but because it finally showcases his authenticity.
Be the first to watch the world premiere of “This Is Country” above and be sure to follow this rising artist through the links below.