The music of Chattanooga native Ladi Luciano builds a bridge between the dense grooves of modern R&B and the stark rhythms of classic hip-hop. And it's in this musical middle ground where her ability to mold and reshape these sounds is made readily apparent. Alternating between a lyrical spoken word delivery and something a bit more melodic in its execution, her words seem to pierce through the fog of emotion that hovers just above her music, giving a brief glimpse into the heart and instinct inherent to her work.
With her latest single, "On Da Low," she spirals into a series of personal narratives and experiences that are rife with stinging quips and lacerating accusations. She also brings in an abundance of casual swagger and blustery resolve—she lays out the record of a faulty relationship and the consequences of its deterioration. There’s a sense of insight and resignation, along with a healthy dose of skepticism and anger. But she keeps all these emotions balanced as the track progresses, creating a fully lived-in and coherent world where she brings all this noise and fury directly to her audience.
Despite the hurried emotional content, she deftly handles all aspects of the song without fumbling its intent or innate determination. Beats roll and thump while a calypso rhythm dances around in the background. The production is full but not overstuffed—she leaves enough air in the spaces between the various sounds to allow our own emotional associations to bury themselves within the spacious grooves.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.