MUSIC

Eli Sostre's "EROS" Is Contrived and Monotone

The Brooklyn-native's third outing is thematically similar to his first two, which is both a good and a bad thing.

Eli Sostre is the face of a new underground movement in Hip-Hop. "I feel like [I make] late night drive music," the 27-year-old Brooklyn emcee told XXL.

FREE by Eli Sostre www.youtube.com

"It's mellow. It's life style music. People I've been compared to? I don't know I don't listen to comparisons...I'm better than everybody, that's how I feel." His amalgamation of R&B and rap with lo-fi production amassed a standing ovation of sorts, with his debut Still Up All Night seen as a changing of the guard in underground hip-hop. Alongside acts like Frvrfriday, Norman Perry, Pre Kai Ro, 451, and Soriano, (the latter two are collaborators with Sostre), the crooner has become a torchbearer for a genre that walks a thin line between rap and R&B, one steeped in hazy, minimalist production and dripping in melancholy.

Yet Sostre's latest project, Eros, sounds contrived. Songs like "Can't Have Both" and "Bad Luck" find the artist straining to experiment within the margins of his self-proclaimed genre, but Eros' 14-track runtime is mostly littered with recycled material. It'll be comforting for Sostre fans to hear him stick to the script, but those looking for an expanded palette will, unfortunately, find little to nibble on. He covers familiar topics: heartbreak, drug use, emotional unavailability. But treading such familiar thematic material feels irksome at this point in his career. "B*tch I got so many problems," he sings on "New Problems," "ride with my dawgs so I don't gotta solve 'em." On "Scene," he clings to a similar narrative: "I don't change, you don't change so I buy you big rings."

His resistance to growth is suffocating after a few tracks, even when he strikes the perfect balance on songs like "Free" and "Motorola." He has a kid now and announces it proudly in both the album's promotional trailer and cover art. But despite being a father and existing in a totally different musical world than the one in which he released his first album, Sostre continues to act like nothing has changed

Eros finds the crooner boxing himself in. It checks all the boxes of a Sostre album, but the moments that work are vapid and the moments that don't are overbearing. He doesn't seem aware that he's kickstarted an entire movement. "Sometimes I get too paranoid, don't trust a soul," he sings on "Come Thru." He has more support than he's willing to admit, and stardom is perched on his doorstep. All Sostre has to do is breathe and let other people in on the conversation.

Music Features

On This Day: Shakira Liberated Everyone's “She Wolf”

"I was in the studio in a bad mood that day, then I got inspired and went to a corner and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in 10 minutes. The image of the she wolf just came to my head, and when I least expected it I was howling and panting," Shakira said.

By Fabio Alexx

11 years ago, on July 10th, 2009, Colombian singer Shakira released the first single off her third studio album.

"She Wolf" is a synth-pop banger built on a B minor progression. It was, in many ways, an insane song, born out of the singer's own frustration and ennui.

"I was in the studio in a bad mood that day, then I got inspired and went to a corner and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in 10 minutes. The image of the she wolf just came to my head, and when I least expected it I was howling and panting," Shakira said.

Though the music was composed by John Hill and Sam Endicott, lead singer of post-punk band The Bravery, the lyrics were all Shakira's own. "[Shakira] contacted him (Hill), asking if he had any stuff," said Endicott. "We never had her in mind. We just made the thing independently of her, and then she liked it a lot, and she sang over it. She used some of the melodies we put in there and then wrote these crazy lyrics about being a werewolf. And that's how it happened."

Shakira - She Wolf www.youtube.com


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