Sorry We Lost You, MistaDC | Album Review
Seattle may not be known for its hip-hop scene, but that could be changing. Gifted musicians have been accumulating in Seattle lately, and in true northwest fashion, they’ve taken a liberal approach to their exchange of talent. Local artists are working together, trading features on each other’s tracks, and a collective of Seattle-based producers have been openly collaborating. The result has been a steady output of avant garde music with homegrown roots, the quality of which is almost baffling.
When 23-year-old, Tri-City native, MistaDC showed up on the scene, he was quickly added to the roster. His induction into the city’s pool of talent is no mystery; he has a buttery voice that could make gibberish sound seductive.
The last two years have seen MistaDC working with producers Kyo-Ken, Soultanz, and Samurai Del, to name a few, whom he credits with helping him explore his sound since he came to Seattle. He has regularly collaborated with up and coming local artists like ParisAlexa and Travis Thompson, making a name for himself around town, playing festivals like Upstream, and generating a lot of hype over a long awaited solo project.
Finally, it has arrived. Sorry We Lost You which dropped December 7th, trades in the upbeat, electric grooves of popular singles like “Vegas Girl” and “Most Beautiful Ride” for a series of unhurried, downtempo numbers. In a way, it’s not what we expected; its better. On this seven-track project, ostensibly detailing the rise and fall of a romance with love interest Vicky, MistaDC demonstrates his broad stylistic range.
The album opens on a weightless note with “Confident”: MistaDC convinces his muse to trust him on a deeper level over the backdrop of cooing background vocals and stripped-down guitar strums, asking her to follow him “where lonely lovers grow”. The next song, “Flaws” kicks up the heat a notch. Shayhan, of production duo Soultanz, lends his CeeLo-esque vocals to the track to perfectly round out the song. Blending themes of forbidden fruit and vulnerability, an old-school R&B boom-bap beat and lyrics like “feel the change in your breath, now we’re dripping in sweat” make this a seductive number.
The next three tracks are incongruous with the rest of the album. The last two tracks, “Vicky, Fly Home” and “Don’t Call” blend seamlessly with the tenor and narrative of the opening numbers, but what is couched between them tell a story of confronting pain and inner demons. “Get Out” and “New Soul” share samples of a cracking blaze, evoking a rebirth-from-the-ashes vibe. Next is “Sunrays” which has been out for a year and a half and is truly a masterpiece. MistaDC has confessed that the song is sung from the perspective of his deceased friend’s girlfriend as a tribute to her loss. DC contrasts playful, jazzy piano keys with jarring minor notes to create a palpable dissonance. The song has the quality of a time-capsule dream, one that feels so right, but has a vague hollowness haunting its periphery.
I appreciate that the album takes an unexpected turn and then picks back up where it left off. MistaDC cites Frank Ocean and Childish Gambino as inspirations and has openly stated that he doesn’t want to be pigeonholed into being just a rapper or an R&B artist but would rather be seen as a musician artist. He has also produced compelling and visually striking videos for “Get Out” and “Sunrays” proving that, like his inspirations, he is eager to express himself through different mediums. It only makes sense that he wouldn’t stick to one genre or sound for the entire album.
Sorry We Lost You excels in its production value and its selection of featuring artists, but more than anything it gives us our first look at a fully-realized, creatively liberated MistaDC. I can’t wait to see what he does next, but I am sure his style will continue to evolve. Maybe he’ll invoke Miguel, the way that he does in “Vicky Fly Home” and blend electric guitar and R&B to make more baby-makin’ beats; maybe his lyrics will become more personal and idiosyncratic like his last song, “Don’t Call,” taking a page out of SZA’s book. Most likely though, he will forge a path all his own.
MistaDC is in the right place at the right time and surrounded by just the right people to refine his style. The mix of hard-work and creativity in the Seattle region has been steadily simmering for the past few years, and Sorry We Lost You is one of the many proofs that magical things are starting to happen.
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