Hirow, El, & Ivory Keys Release Collaborative EP, One Spliff and Three Minorities (Review)

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    Hirow, El, & Ivory Keys Release Collaborative EP, One Spliff and Three Minorities (Review)
    Published: September 7, 2023

    As I delve into the joint EP cleverly titled One Spliff and Three Minorities by Hirow, EL, and Ivory Keys, I’m impressed by how deeply they experimented with various types of rock influences, vocal delivery, and overall structure to deliver a genre-morphing project. Each of these creatives garnishes the album in their own unique way.

    “One Spliff and Three Minorities” is fully produced and engineered by alt-rap artist Hirow. After his early summer tour, Hirow teamed up with local creatives EL and Ivory Keys and brought life to the vision. EL is a DJ, artist, photographer and executive creator of his new underground magazine, No Safety, that covers all corners of the underground creative arts scene in Charleston.

    Ivory Keys is a songwriter, photographer, lyricist and notable performer in the city (you might remember him from way back at Extra Chill Fest 2019). Together they’ve come together and put together a #GxldApproved ‘rock steady’, alternative rap EP.

    Flying in to open the album is the vintage, ethereal real jazz vibe, of the title track “One Spliff and Three Minorities”. Seared with snappy Griselda-like lyrical flexes from the trio, they give the first glimpse at their congruity as a unit. Hirow brings in a billowing, slow burn verse, as El picks up the energy and Ivory Keys ends the song with a porous display of wordplay, imagery, and ‘off the cuff’ lyrics.

    “Lethal Weapon,” with Hirow and EL, features a back-and-forth between the two artists, showcasing their unified energy and confidence in the power of their collaboration. This track marks the first shift into the heavy rock, punk, and metal influences that drive the album, with its low-fi ‘trip hop’ sounds similar to the likes of groups like Gorillaz.

    Cranking the meter up a notch and continuing the evolution of sound on the EP is “Like That!”, intensifying the blurry line between alternative hip-hop and rock. The trio skillfully combines a trappy rhyme cadence with a hard metal base, resulting in a unique sonic experience. Each artist brings their distinct voice to the track, further adding depth to the composition piece, and presenting multiple flavors to the soundscape over this uptempo mix.

    The aptly titled song, “Ukraine,” takes a departure from the rap influences and embraces full-on Britpop rock. Faded, harmony guided, emo raps delivered with an almost aerial distance-“Ukraine” fully transcends rap and dives into a ‘9 Inch Nails’ grunge push that transitions well into the final act of the album.

    Bringing the EP to a climactic close, the final song, “GYAT,” featuring Semkari, immerses me in a full on Denzel Curry meets $uicide Boy$, metal rock backdrop. The wall-shaking basslines and tonsil-ringing verses and melodies from the lot, create an atmosphere that is both exhilarating and intense. It serves as a fitting climax to an album that seamlessly blends genres of rock, pop, dub, and rap.

    In closing, One Spliff and Three Minorities is a masterful collaboration between Hirow, EL, and Ivory Keys. This EP showcases a grandiose mix of punk rock, hardcore rock, and metal, intertwined with the trio’s alternative rap styles.

    Each track offers an exclusive experience, with Hirow, EL, and Ivory Keys pushing the boundaries of their respective genres. One Spliff and Three Minorities is a must-listen for fans of diverse and boundary-pushing music hailing from the city of Charleston.

    Stream the EP below.

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