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The rest of the country is finally catching up with Portland’s long-gestating hip-hop scene. Although PDX is more often pointed toward for innovative twists on indie rock genres, artists like Aminé, Myke Bogan, and The Last Artful, Dodgr have created national recognition for a hip-hop tradition that has birthed a long succession of talented, but underground, rappers.
Earlier this fall, Myke Bogan released his first official full-length album, Pool Party, after several successful mixtapes. Produced by Portland’s Neill Von Tally, Pool Party oozes dark, syrupy beats, plenty of deft phrase turns and several notable collaborations.
Those familiar with Bogan’s earlier work might expect the traditional buoyant West Coast hip-hop sounds of his past, but Pool Party instead showcases his more subdued, introspective style, opting for grimy, down-tempo tracks with enough space between the beats for him to push and pull as he pleases. Album opener “Elevators Above” features an oscillating, synth-laden instrumental that creates an air of weightiness anchored by Bogan’s raspy growl. “Winding Roads” is the closest thing to a traditional banger, with a bass-heavy club beat and a head-nodding hook. “Top Gun” reprises Bogan’s work with The Last Artful, Dodgr from 2016’s Rare Treat EP, and the pair work seamlessly over a spare, unobtrusive instrumental.
Pool Party fits nicely into the PDX ethos of creative, off-beat production, and although Bogan has been around the block a few times, for a full-length debut, it offers just enough of a glimpse into his talents to have us already looking for more.