Chicago's L.A. VanGogh Curates Low-Tempo Track Trio for Quarantine Poignancy
Evan Dale // April 30, 2020
Transcendent force of Chicago hip-hop experimentalism, L.A. VanGogh is an image of the city he comes from. A raw, lyrical rapper, a conscious poet, and a prominent figure in the realm of mental health, VanGogh is ever in touch with his emotional expanse, and his latest EP – a three track cut shaped to fit the constraints of quarantine – is more than a gimmicky taking advantage of a troubled time. Instead, QuaranTina Turner Sings the Blues is, as he says, ’a collection of moody songs with petty undertones that [he’s] released from the vault to aid in all [our] passive aggressive quarantine arguments.’
Like L.A. VanGogh in relation to the borders of genrefication, Quarantina Turner Sings the Blues is bigger than its COVID-19 boundaries. For three tracks pulled from his canonical unreleases, Lonely In Brooklyn (2015), Introverted Lover (2015), and Subtweets (2020) coalesce like a project built from the ground up. But that’s the nature of L.A. VanGogh’s immense stylistic background.
All three lean towards the melodic end of his spectrum, brimming with poignant chords and foggy vocal runs. And while Lonely In Brooklyn & Introverted Lover feel particularly hip-hop oriented in their aesthetic – with rap verses that few outside of Chicago can parallel – that underlying emotionality is the point of the project at large, and undoubtedly, too, it’s most prominent creative direction.
Long past the time when this all (hopefully) ends, QuaranTina Turner Sings the Blues will stand as a necessary addition to L.A. VanGogh’s canon and will hopefully spur more to come like it.