A Look Into the Music of Leeroy Jelks

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this morning’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Leeroy Jelks, an independent alternative boom-bap artist from Buffalo, New York. Jelks is a budding artist, and age eighteen he’s preparing to release his debut EP. Ahead of that release, he’s shared a short collection of tunes to delve into here on the Spotlight. Thus, let’s explore Jelks’ music and determine if his debut is one indie music fans should keep an eye out for.

First and foremost, “boom-bap” is a sub-genre of hip hop that you don’t see every day. In essence, the style is focused heavily around thick drum loops and beats. In this sense, it’s actually a very sparse style of production. A lot of boom-bap artists, Jelks included, harken back to what we often consider nowadayd as the “classic” hip hop of the late 80s and early 90s.

‘Rerun,’ a track produced by OKVSHO, is one of the best tracks Jelks has out right now. His lyricism is razor sharp, boasting some of the most articulate hip hop musings I’ve heard this fall in the indie scene. Furthermore, Jelks’ delivery is very organic. He’s a natural, and he doesn’t sound like he’s eighteen; one could easily mistake him for a thirty-something. OKVSHO’s production is particularly interesting, based around the aforementioned heavy dose of drums and a jazzy piano riff that’s looped throughout.

‘Grey Matter,’ produced by Makoto, is another track that exudes an old school vibe. It chronologs Jelks’ fall-out with a girlfriend he’s spent quite a bit of time fighting with. It’s an honest, authentic track that’s nicely produced and executed. It gives Jelks’ music some emotional variety, which is important for any artist. ‘Gemineye,’ another track produced by OKVSHO, also toys with some jazzy loops to immensely positive effect.

The producer Makoto begins to earn his stripes on ‘Chop It Up,’ one of the more eclectic productions Jelks has out right now. The seemingly erratic, fantastic beat compliments some of Jelks most personable, witty lyricism as he rhymes about hypoallergenic bitches the perks of being single. ‘Juice From Concentrate,’ a track produced by Jacob Gamboa, offers the performer’s most passionate delivery of these five songs. Jelks is in fine form on it.

I get a lot of hip hop across my desk, the vast majority of which is very poorly executed. It’s the most inundated community in the independent scene, perhaps with the exception of the “singer songwriters.” It is so refreshing to not only get five excellent tracks, but to also get them from such a young artist. Keep tabs on Leeroy Jelks; he’s going to be making awesome music.

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