Writer: Sebastian Egholm Lund
The danish-sudanese young rapper Louis Rustum (stylalized “louis rustum.”) released his debut solo EP the 21th of november titled ‘Pharaohs’. The EP is produced mainly by tais. and Frederik Carstens (the drummer of Flødeklinikken) and is a very stellar performance by Louis who talks about his city, generation and life with a reoccurring theme rotating around the Egyptian mythology.
Louis Rustum has formerly been known as Napkin Cole (A pun on the name of the jazz legend Nat King Cole) when doing solo work with producer JONGPADWAN but is using his own rightful birth name on this solo EP. Louis is the lead singer of the Aarhus-based band Point Blank. The band has experienced a growing success the last couple of years evolving from a locally-known band to a nationally-known band that have played with some of the biggest stars in the Danish hip-hop underground scene. The band’s success has in many ways been a result of their warm, smooth instrumental-focused way of producing hip-hop. And in fact they just released their debut album ‘Ears to the Concrete’ on the 8th October. On top of that Louis is part of the new Arhus-based creative unity named HUKAOS which also features the prominent up-comers Karl William and tais. whose works we have covered in earlier articles (evt. Link). In other words Louis Rustum has many things cooking at the time being. And the EP ‘Pharaohs’ illustrates just that.
The EP starts off warm and fussy with the laid-back title track ‘Pharaohs’ which features some smooth horns that create that cosmic and moody feel the HUKAOS unity is characterized by. The mood resembles a very late Saturday night or very early Sunday morning with the reoccurring, dreamy chorus “Safe and bright future, if god willing/ Planets on my mind, pharaohs in the ceiling.” – Louis flows and sings effortlessly over the moody beat and hits home with some introspective and intelligent lines. The whole track just seems to be a very precise characteristic of the components the HUKAOS creative is most concentrated around: dreamy, blurry R&B-beats along with introspective and poetic rap.
But the EP ‘Pharaohs’ isn’t just sonically soothing and warm – it also features some really noisy, aggressive and scratchy production. The track “Gold (Nefertiti)” and Empire (Royal Arrogance) consist both of a very loud and piercing EDM-based beat in which Louis spits very aggressively with bravado. The inspiration from Kanye West’s recent album is somewhat clear on these tracks. This leads me to the second standout-track of the EP, “Anubis”. The production is very dark and minimal which make Louis’ voice seem razor-sharp. Louis seems hungry and goes hard with lines as “Fresh to death, though the night is young/My name will be here forever while you only live once/ And that is just a notice/ for the rappers who hold the top positions in DK, knowing that I’m focused/You had your time, now step aside/ (…) /weigh a feather against my heart, let Anubis do his job/”. Louis’ clearly aiming for the top spot in DK and his ambition and hunger seems massive.
Overall the EP ‘Pharaohs’ by Louis Rustum is a very solid debut effort. Louis is only 21 years old and the EP shows first and foremost the potential he possesses. ‘Pharaohs’ is an interesting fresh breath of air in which Louis manages to display two sides of his musicality: the harsh, electronic and boastful side and the more dreamy, instrumental and introspective side. This creates an EP that holds imperfections and sometimes a lack of coherency but is full of potential. Louis’ coming quests will be eagerly awaited by SOA with or without Point Blank.