Newfound success has redveil reflecting on his upbringing in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and the choppy waters he weathered to end up here. Some of his friends, like the ones mentioned near the beginning of “pg baby,” are fellow grinders working to “never see another autumn.” Others, like the nameless person at the start of the second verse of “shoulder,” are brief vessels of regret that color memories of Motorola phone screens. These experiences enrich his personal stories, lessons from each of them pushing him further toward his goal.
That clarity is complemented by a lush suite of beats. Learn 2 Swim is entirely self-produced, and redveil’s production chops have expanded to match the occasion. Samples, synths, and piano are still his musical bread and butter, but the sense of scale to each of these beats is massive. Both “new info” and “morphine (da ways)” start with loops and steady drum programming before breaking open to reveal booming 808s in their last seconds, fleshing out the experience without overwhelming it. The love for melody and chord progressions he inherited from Tyler manifests in gossamer piano keys that dot nearly every song. Those chords are the lifeblood of tracks like “diving board” and “better,” descending like a sunshower against a pink horizon line at dusk.
It’s even more impressive when he combines these sounds, like the piano keys simmering below sampled cymbals on “better” or the latticework of synths, drums, and vocal samples that make up the second half of “automatic.” redveil seamlessly weaves different types of rap production together, channeling the orchestral pomp of live-band hip-hop, the gooey sample loops of the modern underground, and the synthetic flair of the mainstream into something fresh. By challenging perceptions of what rap can be, he’s created audio dioramas that blend and melt into each other in stunning fashion.
The duality of redveil’s production style dovetails with the redemptions and new beginnings at the heart of his stories across Learn 2 Swim. If you listen closely, you can hear the same sincerity that informed the music of his early influences. But redveil is no copycat. He has Tyler and Earl’s respective confidence in Black self-expression without the hard personality and musical edges that defined their early work; he shares Logic’s passion for the craft and history of rap minus the try-hard True Schoolisms that sap energy from his persona. Learn 2 Swim is luminous and forward-thinking, using the embers of redveil’s personal and musical past to fuel his trip to greater heights.