Grandace Effortlessly Explores Softness & Grey Area with Also Codachrome
Evan Dale // Mar 30, 2019
Art is unendingly complicated and simplistic in both directions. At times we go too in-depth about something unmeant to illicit such a response. At others, we dwell on the surface level of a piece whose layers are designed to be systematically uncovered. But that interpretation, at the end of the day, is what makes art so special. From our stance, it would be hard not to find a complex, grander depth to Grandace’s fifth EP, Also Codachrome. The name itself taken from avant-garde film, Kodachrome, celebrated for its relative softness and elegance amongst a smattering of film ideology too fervently attached to vividity, unrelatability, and abnormality, Grandace chases the same ideals from a musical stance – or rather, a collection of musical points of view.
Akin to many young creatives today, Grandace is brutally challenging to place in a box. A proponent of hip-hop lyricism, neo-soul vocal deliveries, minimally obtrusive production, and a greater insight into art and its effects on himself and the audience in general, he feels most aesthetically like a less emotionally and socially-sensitive Raury and a more instrumentally funk and jazz driven Pell. But again, that leaves us with quite a range.
Also Codachrome flows effortlessly between where once stood a collection of close-knit but separate musical genres, and now exists, thanks to widely-talented artists like Grandace, post-genre. A master of all the grey areas from which he casts his spell, Grandace does so always with that softness – that elegance – that digestible Kodachrome in mind. The project flows in osmosis from the upper end of the spectrum to the lower. Elevated – appropriately enough – starts us at the top of the rollercoaster, entrancing us with undeniably smooth and clever flow and lyricism – rhythm and poetry – and welcoming us to the strengths in our protagonist’s ability as a rapper. But, Grandace never commits fully to one channel, allowing all of his talent to shine on each track regardless of its primary musical directive. Just listen to the addicting chorus from that same track and try not to be dizzied by the fact that one artist is responsible for it all.
Masterofdisguise follows suit, drawing in the listener with psychedelic displays of his truly remarkable range. The song is difficult to listen to from stances of equal breath mentally and emotionally. Perhaps the most resonantly encompassing of the project at large, Masterofdisguise is simply so listenable – so soft – that it’s easy to get lost in absolute velvet of it all, missing entirely Grandace’s absurd talent to weave meaningful penmanship into everything he does. But, if one can remove themselves from the trance of Grandace’s melody, one will hear challenging and meticulously crafted words of wisdom on battling existential doubt, anxiety, and finding a way to move forward regardless, finding peace in the process.
Thumbs Up fitting along the same sliding scale of bubbly and funk-driven melody, brings to mind comparisons to SiR in particular where rap and R&B both come so easily to one of the smoothest artists we’ve heard, that the outcome becomes something else altogether. Thumbs Up is also, from our perspective, the most heightened display of a vocalist’s talent to coalesce with their beat. Grandace’s vocal delivery and production are at times indistinguishable from one another, at times harmonizing, but always complimentary. And in that ability for Grandace as a producer, a vocalist, and a rapper to utilize all his gifts interchangeably exists the genius in his listenability, and the obviousness in his Kodachrome influence.
Streams of Life is a funk-driven track built on an incredible piece of intermittent vocal layering and a greater beat that is impossible not to dance to. An anthem of good times, there’s a chance that it will also come to be Grandace’s first taste of broad mainstream success, possessing the poppy kind of quality for such a feat.
Lastly, Also Codachrome closes out its 15-minute run-time with Fertile Soil, a tale of, for lack of a better expression, moving on. Again, owning the duality of Also Codachrome and thriving as a deeply layered exploration of Grandace through music, the track is bubbly and uplifting at the same time that it is questionably downtrodden and saddened. It explores such differing arenas without ever losing touch of the project’s greater thematics and Grandace’s greater, continuously emerging talent.