I know Rob Lee in real life, so Imma keep it real with y’all. Art of Flight goes. And it goes hard AF. Gimme a minute to explain.
Rob Lee walked in to the Vibe Open Mic, produced by Sasha Renee, Thursday night a mere HOURS before the release of his debut album Art of Flight. He was cool, calm, and collected. The feature artist for the evening, It was clear the moment he walked in that he was ready to fly his new joints.
“There should be more people here.” I agreed. The spot wasn’t dead by any means. But, I felt him. He’d been buzzing for weeks, and I’d had early access to the album for three whole days, so I knew what kinda heat the dude had in store for folks. A nice size crowd was there. But like I said, I felt him. Dude should be at the Yum, The whole city should have been out. See, we knew something they didn’t know: Art of Flight was it.
His shades were on.
Cool af. Swagged out in an over sized hooded jacket, white fitted jeans, with a tan bandana tied around his head. He looked the part. And I wasn’t the only one to peep game.
Peter Wesley, who is featured on the Art of Flight intro along with Tez of 2Deep, agreed.”It’s crazy to see him [out here]. I can see him on Tv. He looks like a pop star. He carries himself like an A-list celebrity. I think Rob could be huge.”
I think Mr. Wesley is right.
Art of Flight is classically original. It is organic, melodic, and soulful. It’s like the number two track on the album says, “Im different than before”. The approach is fresh. Rob Lee flawlessly marries R&B, neo-soul, and hip hop, while carefully making room for a lil house, jazz, and even some Afro-Caribbean flavor.This project is sharp, energetic, raw, smooth, and dark in all the right places.
It’s a story about taking flight. It’s about chasing your dreams while navigating the ups and downs of love.
Rob put in real work on this project, and that was clear to me from my very first listen. Engineered by Robert “Saint” Calloway, the mixing and sound quality are both worthy of notation. Saint has done it again. Hats off to him because he came all the way through on this project.
As I listened, I got the feeling that Rob is a perfectionist, in the best sense of the word. He has to be. Art of Flight sounds like hours and hours of laser focus and meticulous attention to detail. I listened to it again and again…and again. Ironically the number three track on the album, featuring Rmllw2llz is called “Replay”. And these last few days that is exactly what I’ve done. Replay this project. That’s important for me. I told y’all Imma keep it real. But I’ll get in to why exactly that’s important later. Just know that…
Art of flight is dope.
And I don’t mean that in an, over used, cliché, pop culture typa way. I mean it in a, the shit really f’n rides typa way. The features alone are also worth noting on this project.
If you’re a fan of Louisville hip-hop, you’ll definitely appreciate this roster:
Tez of 2Deep
Gio El Futoro
T@y All D@y
and Tiara P.
And while the album’s features are well-known locally, as heavy hitters, Rob commands through the totaltiy of the project. On all five of his stand alone songs, (“Different”, “All Yours”, “Isle of You” [pronounced I love you *my personal fav*], “Come Over”, and Monday Morning [Which according to Rob ALMOST didn’t make the project]). Rob proves that he doesn’t really need features to make a great song. But thank Gawd he had them. These local, Louisville artists, knocked it out the park. They all delivered. If Rob is the jet fuel, these folks are the booster pack. Together, they launched this album in to outer space.
Rob explained that he picked artist he knew and liked. They were all folks that he listened to, and had close relationships with.
I caught up with Tez and Rmllw2llz the night of the Vibe, to get more insight on what it was like to work with Rob. They both agreed: Rob was extremely easy to work with. They used words like: fun, passionate, focused and maniacal, as Tez carefully explained what he meant. “It’s that obsessive enthusiasm towards getting it right.”
When asked where exactly they would like to see Rob Lee go, post releasing Art of Flight, Rmllw2llz kept it open, “I see Rob going where ever he wants to go.”
That means the top. I know. I told yall, I know Rob. Tez echoed the same centements, “I want to see him on top of the charts. I want him to have the typa local success that turns into something big.”
As for Rob, he just wants to maximize the exposure he’s getting. He says his focus, now that the project is out, is on promoting it, and shooting visuals. He has several videos currently in the works. So look out.
“Who inspires you?” I asked quickly, as we sat on a white leather couch toward the entrance of Nirvana. We were inching closer and closer to his performance. There was a lot going on. But he stayed quite calm. Answering my questions, greeting familiar folks entering the venue, while occasionally stepping away to handle various bits of business. Then coming right back to continue the interview.
“Chris Brown, Brandy, and Lauryn Hill to name a few.”
I started getting anxious. I knew he had to go up soon and I didn’t want to take up too much of his time. Like, this was a big night for him.
“What do you want folks to take away from this album?”
“I want people to feel it. To really listen to it. A lot of people only know me from “Monday Morning”. I wanted to show people that I’m different from just that song. I wanted to give people something raw. Usually I’m so guarded. I just wanted to allow myself to be vulnerable and really show people a side of me that they don’t really get to see.”
*Cue Flash Back*
I met Rob through my old manager, Phillip Baynard, about four years back. Phil had scooped me up, and Rob was in the car. They both worked at the same job were probably just getting off.
Phil introduced us and mentioned that he told Rob I rap and that I had recently put out a project.
A song was playing. Rob asked me what I thought about it. SoI told him what I thought. I didn’t trash it out, but I payed the f*ck out of it. I didnt know Rob and back then R&B wasnt really my thing. I’ve since grown to appreciate R&B, still, when he revealed that that was in fact his song, I was embarrassed at how quickly I had brushed off his music.
Four years later, as I watched Rob take the Vibe stage to debut his very first studio album, I thought back to that day. The day we first met. The day I payed the shit outta his music. Now I’m literally playing the shit outta his music. I’m proud of the dude. He took flight dispite what anybody had to say. Congrats Rob, because I can’t get enough of this.
The sounds. The words. The vocals. The mood. The emotion. The picture. The art.
It’s fly af yall.
Rob Lee just took off. His debut album titled ‘Art of Flight’ soars. It dropped today, April 20th, the National Smokers Holiday. You may not know me. IDGAF. But I promise you. Take my word for it. Give this dude a listen. It’s worth every second.
-The Edjukated Rebel
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