When you know who Medhane’s close friends are (Earl Sweatshirt and MIKE), you quickly grasp the musical climate of Cold Water. Infused with waves of lo-fi hip hop, its dense and concise flow brings depth to the album. The Brooklyn rapper tells of a path marked by wounds, and opens a channel to redemption, with verses such as, “through the lows, I can see the gold” (“Truth and Soul”). His Mick Jenckins-style tracks, sometimes reminiscent of Isaiah Rashad, feature low bass, which goes hand in hand with the tone of his verses, and are sprinkled with jazz-piano touches and diffuse strings, which give the whole thing body. It’s a swim through cold waters at first, the turmoil of a dark life from which Medhane learns his lessons, towards sunnier tracks like “Don’t Fuck Around”, accumulating choruses, trumpets, and beats. And to top it all off, guests including KeiyaA, Maxo, Navy Blue, and JadaSea step in to add yet more oomph to this already well-rounded album. A clear and limpid listen with a simple message, this album deserves to be recognized for its brilliance.
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