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Austin based rap artist Emeril Picasso goes for an intrepid trip of a flow with the pure fire of his newly released “Demons and Love” EP. The raw grit and soul of the project has an intensity to it. His verses are balanced for maximum impact for he offers vignettes from a life lived to the absolute fullest. Arrangements do a perfect job in framing these pieces, never too hard, always hitting in a dazed, hazy way. With a duality of sorts, both going for those quiet moments along with a sense of defiance, the whole of the EP intermingles to become something truly surreal at times.

The vulnerability Emeril shows draws from some of Drake’s own emotional output. Akin to Drake, there is a tenderness to the way that the tracks evolve. On the harder side of things, his delivery has a graceful, luxurious pace to it with comparisons to Biggie Smalls’ confidence undeniable. Bridging both elements of old school and contemporary hip-hop, Emeril crafts a sound that is informed by the past yet very much of the present. Production here has a nimbleness to it for the whole of the album has a great evolution to it.

Psychedelic sampling introduces the album with “Trippin’”. Right from the beginning a voice says “Picasso got that heat” and they aren’t wrong – he goes hard. On “Don’t Matter” there is a Boards of Canada meets Flying Lotus quality to the arrangement, as the angular groove works wonders. Quite pretty “Make It Work” goes for a cleverness, one that explores the ins and outs of relationships.

Easily the highlight of the album comes from “Naples”. From the delicate melody to the remarkable lyricism, there is an entrancing quality to it. “Chaplin Interlude” has a triumphant spirit. Bass hits with a heaviness on the swagger of “Bliss”. Hyperactivity takes hold with “Wake Me Up”. Layer upon layer merges into “Mean That” as the speed of his delivery shows off a different side of his style. Neatly bringing it home is the power of the title track and finale “Demons and Love”.

“Demons and Love” shows off Emeril Picasso’s impeccable storytelling with narratives that linger with the listener long after the EP has ended.

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