Apollo is a man learning every part of the music industry: rapper, producer, engineer, and artist. As a man in control of his art there is no doubt that titling this album “an art exhibit” is no accident.
While tracks like “Circles” and “Rolling” are in front, drawing listeners in, it is only once inside the art exhibit that the true beauty presents itself. Like any art exhibit, not every piece will connect with everyone in the same way. The ones that do though, leave the listener forever altered. For the rest of their lives they will know that piece affected them in ways that the conscious mind cant understand.
“ii: a love poem” sets off a change in body chemistry. Something is coming. If you’re lucky it will be you. But no, its Apollo bringing a beat and flow that rains down like Q-Tip transformed his vivrant thing into precipitation. With flow and beats like this Apollo could sell out in a moment and make a fortune. This is Top 40 Single potential, song of the summer level. But no. That is why this is an art exhibit. Apollo cant be bought. He is here for the most noble of reasons. He is a creator that can only find joy and purpose in life by sharing his creations with the world.
Apollo pours all of this out on “Medicine”. “Tell me how much for my medicine” is a two sided statement. Apollo knows there are compromises that need to happen in order to get his music out to the masses. On the one hand he has to debate on how much to give up from the purest form of his art in order to make it marketable. Then there is the side that needs this outlet. Creating anything is a high that can only be chased with another creation. He is willing to write the songs that make others happy as long as it in turn leads him to the freedom of uninterrupted artistic expression. One for them, then one for me.
This artistic duality extends throughout the album but is strongest in “Wild One” and “Memoirs”. Apollo wants to know and asks “tell me what you heard about me”. In response, “I heard you are a wild one” starts the song and it seems appropriate. “Don’t care how I look because I got my own style”. Apollo exudes confidence. “We do this all the time.” He is the unchallenged leader. Move aside and let the man come through. Then “Wild One” blends into “Memoirs” so seamlessly, which makes the switch so jarring. Apollo is alone in his room doubting everything that is Apollo. Is he good enough? Worthy enough? He is losing faith, afraid, hurt, disturbed. How can this be the same confident man from “Wild One”? Anyone can brag about the positives, but to lay bare the exposed scared flawed human underneath takes a strength and understanding that few in the world can muster.
As Apollo takes the listener through this introspection his lyrics gain more power. “Lost Pt Two” has the weight of every previous track upon it which makes it so difficult to hear “I don’t even know me”. How can Apollo take me on this journey and allow his listeners to know him more intimately than their own family and friends yet be so unsure of who he is himself? If an artist of this level is still unsure, than how can any of us be sure of our own less examined lives?
Like any good art exhibit everyone who walked in to look around walked out a changed person. Through his own exposure Apollo opens up the lives of all that come in contact with his works. He isn’t the answer, nor the prophet. He is a voice that is so genuine it cant help but influence and create other voices. A true original masterpiece in an art form that is too frequently paint by numbers.
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