“Ocean & Montana” finds a sensible vocalist/producer relationship as Kaytranada and Buddy both strike a balance between melody and rap in a hip hop setting. The EP kicks off with “Find Me,” a tune where Buddy passes for an R&B singer, but he follows that up with some blistering bars on the quick “Guillotine.” To this day, I would argue that Kaytranada has never released a shitty beat, but on his debut “99.9%,” the lead singer/front-person changed hands a lot, making for a bit of inconsistency. At only five tracks, one could argue that consistency should be a given here, but still it’s nice to hear Kaytranada focus his energy on one muse for a whole project. Buddy has proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with on this EP and once again Kaytranada shows promise as the hottest young producer in hip-hop today.
After the somber, crooner tones of “Find Me” and the funk drum kit of “Guillotine,” “World of Wonders” is sweet (even though Buddy just talks about fucking). Kaytranada throws in a bit of his cotton candy melodic ideas over another classy drum part. Again, Buddy finds himself floating in cloudy melodic space with a bouncy pop hook to compliment rhymes in the verses. “A Lite” carries over the lyrical bluntness (pun intended), talking about weed for three minutes. This track is a bit more mellow but Kaytranada gives enough bite in the drum part to keep the momentum going before “Love or Something” rounds things out nicely with a return to the sharpness of “Guillotine.”
Every track is digestible and biting, making for a super fun handful of songs. Buddy’s vocals remind me a bit of Donald Glover’s in the Childish Gambino persona. No so much in the sense that the two sound similar, but they both have such a god ear for inflection to add a bit more of signature sound to the straightforward melodies. On “A Lite,” Buddy goofily spits off a bunch of lines in falsetto, acting as his own backing vocalist: “OG we smoke never know street…” Perhaps as Buddy grows up a bit, his lyrical ideas should strive for more maturity, but his personality is big enough to spread itself across this whole EP.
Also, “Find Me” shows promise in his lyrical future. Addressing the concept of finding oneself, Buddy battles with wanting to feel loved and needing alone time—away from his girl—to clear his head: “lost and alone/come find me/I just wanna feel love/come try me…she been trying to kick it all the time but I’m just posted chillin all by myself.” Especially in the social media age, this is a relevant and accurate take on the 20-something experience.
Buddy is a seriously fresh face in the hip-hop scene and “Ocean & Montana” shows his promise as a rap/hip-hop personality, able to throw together some super fun tracks as well as others that capture specific emotions. I’m excited to see him grow up and hope to hear more collaboration between him and the great Kaytranada in the future.