Artist Spotlight: Lute

Lute is one of my favourite rappers currently signed to Dreamville (J Cole’s record label). He’s from Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was a member of the now-disbanded Forever FC. I’ve referenced him in my Cam O’bi guide and one of my underrated songs lists.

Standing Out

In 2017, Lute dropped his debut album West 1996 Pt. 2. This album is a sequel to his first solo mixtape, West1996. On his mixtape, there’s a early 90s NY hip-hop influence, as you can tell by the cover (which is of course paying homage to Nas’s classic album Illmatic). Songs like “Carolina Folks” and “Real2Real” have lofi beats reminiscent of Blu’s mixtape Jesus. But on his debut album, Lute’s songwriting and vision became more focused. “Still Slummin'” reminds me of early Slum Village. “Juggin'” is personal and sentimental, reflecting on lessons he learnt from his parents, and the ups and downs of life. His raps are determined and his vibe is focused.

Stealing The Show

In 2019, Dreamville dropped their highly-collaborative and heavily-anticipated label album, “Revenge Of The Dreamers III.” I really enjoyed the album and the documentary that followed its creation. Out of the many artists involved, Lute had 4 features. Some of which are perhaps the best songs on the album (and there’s a lot of great songs). The production on these songs fit with Lute’s flow extremely well.

His Best Yet

In 2021, Lute dropped another album, and it is worth the 4 year wait. Gold Mouf has the passionate and focused verses he’s consistently created along with a very polished sound. The beats are more crisp than the ones on his previous projects. Also, I love the features he curated. Notably Saba (who just released the first single for his upcoming album!), WESTSIDE BOOGIE, Little Brother, and more. Honestly, I straight up love every artist on the album.

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