Ialive is an emcee/producer from Philadelphia. We last heard from him in October of 2017, when he released a collaborative album with Height Keech called Timewave Zero. He now comes back with a new self-produced album, Don’t Do Nothing.

Don’t Do Nothing is an interesting album for a few different reasons, but the thing that hit me first when listening to this album was the production. Ialive has been producing for years, for himself and artists like kidDEAD, and doing a great job of putting together these underground beats. However, in listening to Don’t Do Nothing, which brings in a heavier influence of psychedelic and garage rock to the equation, you can’t help but notice the influence that working with Height Keech had on him. Not that those elements weren’t there before, but they weren’t nearly as pronounced as they are here. Of course, where Ialive deserves a lot of credit here is the balance that he’s able to strike between the styles, and how connects them in meaningful ways that makes for a really coherent listening experience. It helps that Ialive has a good singing voice. It’s not powerful, but he’s got a nice, clean tone that sounds good while singing pensive hooks over fuzzy guitars. It’s when he starts rapping that you can really hear the Philly come out in him, but instead of getting into an aggressive, “You think you’re better than me?!” East Coast mode, Ialive delivers a really introspective and personal album about growing older, and what that means as an independent artist. “Little by Little” is a great song about trying to find time to work on yourself and personal relationships when it feels like you’ll die if you stop moving. “Garlic” is a song about “vampires,” both in the sense of working all night, but also dealing with those who chase youth to their detriment. My personal favorite on the album is “Aim for the Hole in the Floor,” which makes great use of distortion and feedback and a shuffled drumbeat that provide the platform for Ialive to get really philosophical about his work and his purpose. Everything comes together to make an album that is completely unique in its style, but at the same time extremely open and intimate in its lyricism. This allows you as a listener the chance to try something different, but also form a deep and personal connection to Ialive as an artist.

Ialive has been making some great strides in the past couple of years, and Don’t Do Nothing see him continue on that path. It’s adventurous, challenging, and unique, while also remaining incredibly accessible. It’s an album you can form an instant bond with.