It’s crazy to think that Haleek Maul was only 16 when he dropped his excellent debut EP Oxyconteen back in 2012. 8 years later, the Brooklyn-born and Barbados-raised rapper is back with a cohesive, personal and potent new album titled Errol. It’s named after his late grandfather, who was supportive of Haleek Maul’s musical transformation. He grieves on this album, finding solace and peace in the process. Errol is a a cohesive and infectious body of work that takes inspiration from the electronic subtleties of Aphex Twin to the current wave of dark trap music.
“We Wid It” starts off the album with heavy, visceral basslines, an eerie synth lead and a massive feature from Barbados-based Jah Koda, who’s delivery at the start is actually insane. The energy he brings to the track is absolutely mad. The production on this album is insane. The trap-inspired bangers are laced with electronic quirks and effects, as they meander throughout a dark and somewhat unsettling soundscape. “Ceiling Fan” and “Glitching” are prime examples of the pure energy Haleek Maul brings on this album, as the bass and sub-bass sound fucking menacing. “Halo” featuring Mick Jenkins is one of my favourite tracks on the album, as Haleek sings passionately over a smooth and laid back beat. The electronic synths and effects on this track are pretty great, as they add a soulful, beautiful touch to the instrumental. “Pretty Colour” is a deep, introspective track. He reflects on the difficult aspects of his mental health, and asks whether he really loves himself and those around him. It’s a moody track, with a pure, soulful tone that’s emotive and profound. Tracks like “Lucid” with Sean Leon and “DWGWY” are R&B-inspired tracks that showcases Haleek’s vocal range, while “Abyss” with Ro Ransom and “Name” with Fantom Dundeal are menacing cuts, capturing the visceral emotional energy built inside him. “Feelings” featuring aron is a soulful yet heavy closer to the album, with gorgeous vocals from aron and another stellar introspective verse from Haleek. It’s a beautiful and profound way to end a deep and personal album.
Overall, Haleek Maul’s new album Errol is a potent, engaging and interesting album, beautifully composed and lyrically personal. I’m happy for the young artist, who has established himself as one of the most innovative new artists out right now. To more great years of music!
Listen to Haleek Maul’s new album Errol below via Bandcamp and don’t forget to support! Released via Lex Records.