Theophilus London is a thirty-two-year-old American rapper, writer, producer and singer. London has been on the music scene since 2011 and is known for his ability to effortlessly blend genres like rap/hip-hop with alternative and a bit of soul. Solange Knowles, Tegan & Sara and Kanye West are just a few of the many established artists London has worked with throughout his career.
London last released an album in 2014, so he started the new year off with his highly anticipated third album, Bebey. The opening track “Leon (feat. Kristian Hamilton)” is already a prime example of London’s signature genre fluidity with some rap vocals, autotune and R&B flare. “Cuba” is another song that perfectly showcases the mix of sounds, with rapped verses set to the tune of a reggae-esque beat.
One of the stand-out and most popular songs off the project is “Only You” featuring psychedelic pop-rock act, Tame Impala. The track, which is a cover of the Steve Monite song from the ’80s, sounds exactly how one would imagine a collaboration between the two distinct artists would sound, with some soulful melodies, old-school Michael Jackson vibes and a hint of an alternative twist.
Another well-received collaboration on the album is “Whoop Tang Flow” featuring fellow American rapper Raekwon and seems to be a usual rap song with a catchy rhythm, however, there is a subtle sound of strings in the background, which gives the song a unique quality. Bebey ends on a high note with track “Revenge feat. Ariel Pink” which has a strong ‘80s pop feel and sounds like it could be played in any ’80s romantic comedy were it not for London’s unconventionality shining through in every lyric and note.
Theophilus London’s Bebey exemplifies his unorthodox approach to music perfectly. There’s a taste of almost every genre imaginable yet the project as a whole still flows together quite nicely. Despite the different collaborators and sounds on this album, each feature sounds like it belongs. It may have taken seven years for Bebey to be fully created, but it seems worth it for a one of a kind sonically cohesive project.