Rasual’s eight-track project is a hypnotizing glimpse into the enigmatic young artist’s mind.
I really enjoy these pieces where I can redirect attention back to a project that came out a few months ago but may not have gotten the attention it deserved. Especially when it’s an up and coming talent as capable as Rasual, a rising act from Los Angeles who is part of the collective LFTFLD. The eight-song project And Then After features production by the multi-talent himself, as well as some big West Coast names like Walt Mansa, Tay, and Nathan Austin.
There’s a strong feeling of introspection and taking a deep look at other artists in the game. Rasual conveys a sense of authenticity, even in feeling a bit lost. He’d rather be his imperfect self than someone else’s idea of who he should be. I appreciate the mellowness of the album as it allows me to really focus in on the various elements.
I’ve spoken many times about how I love music is moving back toward the use of live instruments, and that is very present here. Not only is the Ladera Heights native good at what he does, but he truly acknowledges and appreciates the craft. Especially what live instruments bring to the table and the aura they create.
“For The Love of Hate” is a standout for me. Something about that faint background exclamation of “set yourself free!” just took me to a certain place I can’t describe. I felt like wherever Rasual was and what he was dealing with, I was there too. It’s so vulnerable and transparent. “You gotta do it for the love” is such a simple phrase yet it’s so important these days. We do the things we do for everything else but the most important feeling we should all promote – love.
Another thing I enjoyed was the beat switches. The aforementioned track, as well as the opener “Residual”, featured a change in pace, adding new elements to his personal narratives and putting his ability to construct songs well on full display. Not every inter-song transition works out well, but these sure did.
Nathan Austin comes from behind the boards and joins Rasual on the vibrant banger “We Up.” There’s something uplifting, no pun intended, about this cut. MnR partner MoThoro steps in for “Hollywood Toetag” a mid-tempo slow rider with beautiful vocals over the hook. “Made Men” is a bit brasher, and that attitude combined with his already exceptional lyricism is a true treat for those like me with egos. “I’m an entrepreneur, I just choose to rap” is a MAJOR flex. Imagine “just choosing” to rap and having this much skill?
“June 3rd” is the cherry on top. You go into albums expecting the closer track to be that in-depth summary, and it certainly fits the bill as his longest song. The barista (my new nickname for talented rappers, get it trending) throughout this entire album is very composed. There’s a clear inspired energy emanating from his vocals and the sounds behind them.
There’s a timeless feel to this music, but I anticipate continued growth for Rasual as he continues working with some big names in the industry. He recently performed at Anderson.Paak‘s 2nd annual .PaakHouse alongside Ty Dolla $ign, SiR, and Thundercat. The way those people work, it’s only a matter of time before Rasual earns a placement. For now, press play on And Then After. You won’t be disappointed.