Foolie $urfin’ is an Image of All-Encompassing Post-Genre with All of Me
Evan Dale // Mar 11, 2020
Soul has many roots. So does Foolie $urfin’. The R&B experimentalist that wears hats as a producer, a rapper, and a graphic designer, has geographic and artistic roots reaching but not limited to at least Oceanside, Lexington, and Chicago. His texture is anchored in the hip-hop-R&B coalescence of SiR, the atmospheric production of contemporary post-genre musicians unbound by styling, and bits and pieces of creative genius taken from his friends, collaborators, and contemporaries of which the list is endless, but is highlighted by a broad swath of artists from Chrominicci and Galimatias to Bryson Tiller, Tyler, the Creator, HXRY, and many, many more. And though he’s been dropping a steady stream of singles and EP’s for four years, he’s still blooming into something altogether new and more refined.
All of Me is not his debut project, but it is his first vocal album, and in that truth, it’s remarkable. Above all else, its structure rides the line between where hip-hop and R&B once stood, but where now exists the broken, battered beauty of their eternal grey areas. Founded on jazzy, minimalist instrumentals and production, the fluctuating effervescence of a songwriter that effortlessly transitions between the rapped and the sung stands on a pedestal. And All of Me though constantly shifting and adjusting – an image of range defining of Foolie $urfin’ at large – is a consistent portrayal of the honesty that accompanies a musician that refuses to stylistically settle.
Instead, Foolie $urfin’ settles into his own as a vocalist, a rapper, a songwriter, a producer, and a worldbuilder capable of designing and navigating the complicated scape of his own artistry and putting into focus of a full-length, vocally driven album.
All of Me is perhaps the only name that could have come to fruition for such a rangy, all-encompassing body of work.
There are so many moments on the album where it feels like someone else entirely has grasped the reigns from whoever it was that had them just one song before. Last Time: a mellow hip-hop heavy track exploring the melodic and cadence talent of both Foolie $urfin’ and Chicago spitter, Just Adam flows into Timeout: a quirky, rap experiment flooded with bass, repeatability, and a whole lot of humorous reference to the current states of the hip-hop scene.
Just a few tracks later, Pain: an electro-acoustic exploration of atmospheric minimalism and ambience flows straight into Backwood: an understated blending of soul vocalism from Foolie $urfin’, inventive flow by way of Sam Chris, and some intermittent chopped & screwed moments. For most artists, the exploratory breadth of it all might come across scattered and without direction, but Foolie $urfin’ has been both a student and a player in music for years. And through that experience, he’s developed a sound and rounded out a focal point of directionality that feels consistent even when the sounds and styles he’s meandering so fluidly differ so greatly. All of Me is a thesis on all of Foolie $urfin’s musical scale.
If there’s one moment that the scale feels most drawn akin, tightly wound together into a new textile, it’s Jimmy. All of Me’s second track is a genial, addicting hit so mellow and understated in Foolie $urfin’s vocal direction, yet so hard-hitting with storytelling and punch lines; so seamless in its evolutions from rap to soul and back again, that it’s reflective of something only Inglewood, Top Dawg Entertainment SiR seems capable of in today’s scene. It’s not to say that Foolie $urfin’ is utilizing SiR’s unique lane either; it’s simply that he’s capable of being a great rapper, singer, and storyteller all while existing in state of permanent laid backedness.
On the other end of the spectrum, the track most telling to Foolie $urfin’s modernist hip-hop capabilities is Guap. A bona fide hip-hop hit riding an experimental trap beat of his own making, Guap is an anthemic, high-energy, uplifting banger that could highlight a party, a romp at the gym, and everything in between that requires some sonic confidence for a moment’s full ceiling to be realized.
In all, All of Me is an incredibly refined reflection of an artist with an incredible amount to give. As a rapper, a singer, a producer, and simply a storyteller with quite the tale to tell, All of Me is the kind of artistically autobiographical work that artists decades into their career come up short in creating due to an internal lack of creative self-understanding. Clearly, Foolie $urfin’ doesn’t have that problem. And though All of Me is an all-encompassing mirror, there’s surely much more to come from the young artist.