Breaking: Kevin George - FORTINA
I suppose it was inevitable, even before Drake became the mega powerhouse he is beating out the likes of no less than The Beatles for records and sales, that his brand of emotional rap and r and b (best exemplified by his sophomore release Take Care) would have a ripple effect through genre. It's still strange to me to think of Drake as an established artist, almost an elder statesman of the music industry who's songs are already being covered, remixed, and recovered by artists in ways that folk songs were passed along. He has interwoven his songwriting into culture itself, and thus his influence would only surprise people like me who live under very particularly-shaped rocks.
The recent infusion of so-called emo and cloud rap is in no doubt due in some small part to Drake, as much as it is how popular across the board the mid 00's emo phase was. Drake has perfected and branded himself the emo-rap king and minting himself fortune and fame. While he may not have invented the genre, or at least not purposefully, his success necessitates a lot of imitators, emulators, and those who will take his sound to its next evolution. And we have begun to see those changes with artists in that scene. Similar to the emo scene of the 00's, however, we have seen a blowback to the genre label itself; artists distancing themselves from a moniker that has blown up too quickly to, in the minds of many, have paid its dues and focuses way too much seemingly on image.
Regardless, Kevin George stands firmly in the midst of this tide. His sound is unrepentantly an adaptation of that same emo r and b genre, but his approach is a surprisingly mature one when so many similar sounding acts are getting into all sorts of ridiculousness. From his boldly confident artwork that shines for its understated simplicity, to his self-assured choices in songwriting. There are no gimmicks here, just a new and raw talent, which, in this day and age of face tattoos to gain attention and "stand out," is a surprisingly daring move in a genre that seems to place so much importance on superficiality. Throughout the record Mr. George deftly integrates contemporary trap beats with cool-as-silk r and b, creating Weeknd-esque pop.