video: Da L.E.S – High Level By Freed Davids
The North God, aka Da L.E.S, has been in the game for over a decade and he’s one of the few people who remain relevant in the mainstream after being around for so long. He recently dropped a rock solid 12 record project dubbed High Level, with features from Yanga Chief, Gemini Major, Tay Grin, Khuli Chana, Tshego, Maggz and G Baby Da Silva.
The entire album is themed around continued growth and dominance. On the first two records Option and Popular Demand the North god celebrates his 10 year stay in the game but keeps his eyes on the prize as he still expresses a desire to go on and do great things, “I can’t wait to get back on the road, doing shows for my people all across the globe”
The next two records Exotic and Low featuring Gemini Major and Yanga Chief are impeccable records with haunting hooks and a dope flute on both beats. The guys fused their different styles exceptionally well on Low, it’s a dope record. I love the orchestration of the whole song; the way they all come in is sterling.
High Level has more soul than any of his previous projects; none of his projects have given us more of him on a personal level than this project is. On Stay featuring Tay Grin, Da L.E.S opens up about how he’s always stuck between a rock and hard place when he has to strike a fair time balance for his grind and partner. “I don’t wanna leave, but the money got me, keeping me away/ I don’t wanna leave, I don’t wanna leave but your loving got me begging you to stay.” I love the production on this record, so beautiful. The hook on this song is infectious, one can sing along to it the whole day without getting tired of it. It’s another great joint-effort; Tay comes in nicely on his verse too where he’s trying to get back his lost love.
On Taking No More, Tshego complements L.E.S well on the hook and everyone’s appearances on the verses is seamless. It’s a well balanced collaborative record which wasn’t about outshining anyone but making great music. The way the beat is so inviting, it actually deactivates all the stiffness in you and makes you get down.
Slow is more like a continuation of Stay, on this one his partner seems to understand that being with him means that she’ll sometimes have to miss him while he’s out there hustling. L.E.S reassures her that despite his continued absence he has her back. “Even though I never see you girl it’s kinda hard, girl you know I got your back like a body guard…” Immaculate production, the trumpet played on this beat is so dope to an extent that you’d just want to loop it, to enjoy it a little longer. Tunnel Vision is a squad record; he pledges his loyalty to his gang and the grind. The hook on this record is very catchy, you can’t really get tired of telling your squad that you got them.
High Level closes with a record titled Water Whipping recruiting the peerless services of G Baby Da Silva; this record supports the opening song of the album reiterating the fact that loosing is not an option because the team is working so damn hard. “Bag it; we got to secure the bag quick my manager picking up every call. There ain’t no stopping to this madness, North side I ain’t never fall since ’94 on the adlibs/” A good way to wrap up this masterpiece of a project.
High Level is a great project, well conceptualised and structured. Every record fits in perfectly in the High Level story and is repeat worthy. Most records qualify to be chart topping singles. The production is of first rate, L.E.S did a fine job in the execution and decision making for features; all the featured artists came through magnificently. This is really High Level; the North god outdid himself with this one. If he keeps up with this, he’ll have another decade to celebrate in the game.