Bugzy Lavoe- “Ratchet Pastor Lavoe” Album Review

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The first time I ever heard Bugzy Lavoe‘s music was a little over a year ago. I was searching through soundcloud and happened upon a track titled “Lavoelife Finese.” All of a sudden I had just found the greatest party music ever!
It was like he had found a way to make great music and have a great flow without being too serious about it.
So here we are many months later and Lavoe has released what I would consider to be his first “proper” album.
There’s a lot going on amidst these 10 tracks and it’s obvious this project took some time to craft.
First of all the intro sucks you in within a few seconds. There’s a vocal loop throughout the track (and consequently the rest of the album) and it took me a few listens to decipher the words “I still have callouses on my hands. I have a hard time letting things go.”
Take that as you will but even just those words spoke volumes to me and set the tone for something much different than I’d expected. To me it seemed like the introduction of a character in a movie.
Instead of being full of straight party anthems, this album actually jets off in all different directions.
There’s a few different moments within the production (“POPE!”, “D.U.I.”, “Free The Wave”) where all I could think was “Wow, this sounds like The Faint records from back in 1999…but with hip hop over it”
That kind of versatility kept me interested as I further delved into what is most definitely Bugzy’s darkest release to date as far as feel and atmosphere.
The beats are minimal yet effective. The focus seems much more heavily on the lyrics.
The track “Free The Wave” sounds from beginning to end like the soundtrack to a police chase (in a good way, if I’m not being clear).
By the time we’re halfway through with the album I can’t believe what I’m hearing, especially considering who it’s coming from. It’s not as though I didn’t think Lavoe had talent I had just never heard this side of him before. Perhaps I, as a listener, under estimated this artist from the beginning.
“Spanish Harlem” is the closest thing to Bugzy’s last EP, “SAZON” that’s on the record. You can feel that his Peruvian roots will always have influence on his music.
“Dirty Conscious” has a heavy beat that feels like it’s from the 80’s. This is the one song I thought was the closest to the “Finese-era” Bugzy I had come to know.
Immediately following is a spoken word track titled “Power” and it has exactly that.
Fade into “New FLA” and you’re moving from second one of this track. As soon as the beat kicks in you can’t help but dance. This is by far the hardest I’ve ever heard Lavoe rap. He goes off on this track like he has something to prove.
I feel like this release, from beginning to end, is a portrait of the different faces of Bugzy Lavoe.
It’s clear this release begins the progression of Lavoe from “party rapper” to complex hip hop artist.
Listen to “Ratchet Pastor Lavoe” in full below & check him out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram & at LavoeLife.com