When it comes to hip hop music, the biggest rivalry has always been between the East and West coasts. Now and then, an artist will come along who we call, “bicoastal.” E.L.S. owner of Fam Loyale Music Group, is an artist originally from East Buffalo, New York, but moved to Stockton, California as a teenager. Having experienced both East and West coast hip hop, he is able to blend the two styles to reflect who he is. As I talked with E.L.S. about his artistry he stated, “It’s crazy because my East coast family say I sound more West coast and the West, vice versa. I like that shit though. It’s a job well done then.” I have to agree. This artist is not new to the music scene, having already had some major accomplishments which include collaborations with Messy Marv, R&B singer and Grammy award winner Raphael Saadiq, and has music placements on “To Live and Ride In LA.” E.L.S. released a new EP in February titled “Whisper Louder Than Screams.” This project is 7 tracks of music that is relatable in many ways.
Getting into the EP, that aggressive East coast sound is easily recognizable with the first track, “I’m Focused Fam.” Just as the title suggests, this song is all about being focused on the grind, making money and being hungry for success. The second track “Ride Fuh Me” has a West coast beat as E.L.S. blends that East coast flow into the track. The first verse of the song has him shouting out who this track is for. If you don’t find yourself moving to this beat and getting hyped up by his lyrics, you might as well shut the music off now until you can appreciate the music you’re listening to, because it just continues to get better. “No Chill” is where E.L.S. introduces his ability to tell a story through rap. Throughout this track he talks about people trying to put drama on him and how how he’s not with that. “Believe me, I try to have a chill button. I try to have a chill button. But they won’t let me have a chill button. They won’t let me have a chill button. Believe me! I try to have a chill button. I try to have a chill button. But they won’t let me have a chill button. They won’t let me have a chill button.” The use of repetition and clichés heightens the importance of his lyrics in each verse.
As we continue to listen to this EP, we’re introduced to the one and only feature on the project. Big Preme is another big Bay Area artist who has a drive to be the best at everything he does. In track 4, “HustleVille,” E.L.S. and Big Preme rap well together, as they talk to each other throughout the track. Talking about the hustle and grind, the hook is smooth and catchy and both artists feed off each others energies. This is probably one of my favorites from the project. Going into track 5, “Ya’ll See It” is all about E.L.S. talking his shit, letting us know how much swagger he has. This is the first song in the EP where he really hypes himself up, talking about how he’s loved to be hated. “War Cry (Warrior)” is one of those songs that is a perfect work out song. It will have you feeling motivated to do better and be better. From the beat to the lyrics to the energy he brings, E.L.S. may be talking about some personal things, but it’s relatable, especially as the hook hits, where he compares himself to a warrior. Finally, we get to the last song, “Did It Again,” where he talks his shit again, which is easily summed up in these lines: “I believe I can freeze heat. And I can reach and touch the sun in a single leap. I can wave my hands and bring peace to the streets. I can move mountains. Oh how I love being me! I believe I can freeze heat. And I can reach and touch the sun in a single leap. I can wave my hands and bring peace to the streets. And if you ask me, I can do anything I put my mind to.”
To sum up “Whisper Louder Than Screams” into two words: Street Poetry. There is a certain idyllic grace that E.L.S. brings to each track. The songs on this album are not overly “hyphy” as most West coast music is, but also not too aggressive sounding as the East coast style. He really does blend both styles of hip hop very well. His lyrics are full of relevancy and game that anyone can use in their own lives. Each track has a hook that is catchy, due to the repetition he uses. This style is actually very effective in keeping the attention of a listener while forcing them to really listen to the lyrics in each verse. It seems nowadays that hooks are used as the main part of the song, with verses being fillers, and the fact that E.L.S. seems to only use the hook as a separator of his verses, is refreshingly old school. According to E.L.S., every song on this project was old to him; stored away in his archives of unreleased material. I know that artists tend to stow away a number of songs to come back to later, and I’m glad that E.L.S. did! When you can record songs and release them years later and they still hold relevancy, you know you’re doing something right! I appreciated the chance to talk with this artist about his music and write this review. I look forward to hearing more from him in the near future.