EARTHGANG, the Dreamville artists and Atlanta natives Olu (AKA Johnny Venus) and WowGr8 (AKA Doctor Dot), dropped their mainstream debut “Mirrorland.” It’s the first full-length project from EARTHGANG since signed with Dreamville, and the duo didn’t disappoint. The 14 track album mirrors EARTHGANG’s hometown, while further pushing the boundaries of hip-hop on every song. Olu and WowGr8 are no strangers to testing their limits as artists, and their use of abstract beats with versatile flows and hooks make the album shine.

They remind me a bit of a new era of fellow Atlanta natives Andre 3000 and Big Boi. Concise lyrical prowess, profound melodies, and a particular uniqueness to them which expand the boundaries of hip hop. Jazzy neo soul beats, earth undertones, and trap drums are through the entirety of the project.  View “Mirrorland “as a kaleidoscope of the current hip hop industry. Every type of sound from old school boom bap rap to new era trap banger is captured in a very good way.

Features from Kehlani, Young Thug, Arin Ray, and T-Pain further assist in giving the LP a diverse sound. “LaLa Challenge” starts the project off with a bang and a good sense of confusion. first listen, I would left wondering “what did I listen to? However, I really just liked what I listen to.” Add in a clever skit with a Atlanta women asking for fast food showcase a mirror for southern culture. It’s a good tone setter for the rest of the project.

I go loco for my freedom, it’s only thing real these days. Earthgang on single “Up”

Mirrorland Is Black Emcee Freedom Personified

mirrorlandThe second track, “Up,” really captures the overall essence of the project in terms of lyrical freedom for the duo with that line. The journey that occurs through the project is the two exploring different sides of African American excellence. Having the freedom to express different styles of hip hop is what makes the industry great and EARTHGANG does a great job showing it with “Mirrorland.”

Other tracks that stood out in particular are “Proud of You” Ft. Young Thug, “Bank,” “Blue Moon,” and “Trippin” ft. Kehlani. Thugger and EARTHGANG are a better combination on the ears than discounted drinks and wings at happy hour. “Bank” just feels a fun strip club banger that gives you the vibrant energy the duo always gives off. “Blue Moon” is one of the best tracks I’ve heard in recent memories that combines a jazzy, church feel and boom bap hip hop. “Trippin” is a swan song about sultry love done right and Kehlani assists with beautiful vocals. However, the overall track list showcases a diversity that can draw in a wide assortment of listeners for the duo. it’s a testament to their creativity and natural talent.

I only had a few gripes with the project. Some of the lyrics, at times, felt like “fluff.” While, 14 songs is good, in this case, it hurts the replay value a bit in terms of listening through the entirety of the project. At times, it was as if, the duo was trying to showcase their talent too much instead of having it natural come out.

Overall, the project is eclectic jazz and funk soul bliss that  serves as a great introduction to the new class of rappers on the come up in the Atlanta since OutKast. It’s almost 25 years since Andre 3000’s “The South got something to say!” statement during his acceptance speech from the ‘95 Source Awards. OutKast pushed Southern hip-hop to the same heights as East and West Coast rap in the ‘90s. EARTHGANG continues to do the same today with this project.

Overall 8.5 Out Of 10

  • Diverse track list
  • Distinct verbage that portrays the best of Atlanta
  • Mainstream debut that keeps the feel of Earthgang
  • Ultra creative feel
  • Reminds you of OutKast in a good way while being original

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