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E (2019), 7/10

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Swedish rapper and fashion designer Ecco2k (aka Zak Arogundade), a member of Sweden's Drain Gang with rappers Bladee (also a former high-school classmate) and Thaiboy Digital and producer Ludwig "Whitearmor" Rosenberg, debuted with a long series of singles, mostly of trap-styled emo/mumble rapping: Bleach (2013) with Bladee, Hold Me Down Like Gravity (2013), Mirage (2014), GuardianAngels (2015), S/o to my Stalkers (2015), Plastic Surgery (2017), Black Boy (2017).

His first album E (2019) transformed that style into something more personal. Both the rapping/singing and the production are disorienting. The trap beats exude a delicate and melancholy quality. His rapping/singing indulges in repetitive phrases that become psychological mantras. Next to conventional trap music for the dancefloor (Peroxide, produced by Micke "Gud" Berlander; AAA Powerline, produced by Yves "Shanti" Tumor) there are several dreamy psychedelic elegies like Fragile (produced by Gud) and surreal otherworldly lullabies like Calcium (produced by Whitearmor). The descent into sonic madness accelerates with the distorted robotic chaos of Cc (the standout), the malimba-driven jungle shuffle Don't Ask and the frantic metaphysical rap Time (the hip-hop equivalent of a DeChirico painting).

Ecco2k contributed 1:1 and Western Union to the compilation Trash Island (2019).

The most successful of Bladee's and Ecco2k's collaboration was the catchy and propulsive synth-pop ditty Girls Just Want to Have Fun (2020).

Arogundade directed and edited most of his music videos.

(Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )