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Single Review: Bruce Lii “Outta Town”

Las Vegas is more than just a city – it’s a state of being, and Bruce Lii wants to drive this point home in the new music video for his single “Outta Town.” Featuring a hard-swinging beat and what could be the most elusive melody of his discography thus far, Lii’s “Outta Town” is definitely a jettison away from subtle trap beats a lot of his contemporaries have been experimenting with in the past year, not to mention a single that spotlights how versatile a set of rhymes this player can throw down in a relatively simple arrangement.

This beat is undeniably blue-collar, but I’d stop short of saying that it lacks the panache that most of the hip-hop coming out of the underground right now is supported by. There’s nothing wrong with utilizing a black and white rhythm when you’ve got the vocal talents that a rapper like this one does, and personally, I would have judged Bruce Lii a little harder had he gone with something more complicated in this setting. He doesn’t need a lot of fanciful frills to sound like a baller in this single, and thus, he’s leaving the excess features out of the exaction altogether.

“Outta Town” has good bones, but I think it’s all the more striking thanks to the full-bodied vocal Lii is putting up behind the mic. He could have gone a little more conservative with the hook, but he throws himself into the climax and lets the integrated beat back him up like nothing else could have. I’m a fan of the minimalist pop movement, as well as the increasingly surreal bend hip-hop has been embracing, but I can also appreciate someone who is able to lend muscularity to a composition with little more than his natural talents on the table.

The bassline in this mix is bruising, but Lii is someone who doesn’t have a problem springing back from an oversized groove when he needs to. Honestly, I think this instrumental arrangement really favors a player of his skillset for a couple of reasons, chief among them being his ability to showcase his vocal depth without overstating any of the verses. We’re not getting the overdone macho man nonsense that went out of style some three years ago in this piece, but instead someone who has talent in navigating smooth beats that can turn on a dime without predictability.

I’m excited to hear how Bruce Lii is going to grow into this sound, but just judging from what he’s already been able to do in this single, I have a feeling that we’re only seeing the beginning of a blossoming career in “Outta Town.” There are still some rough edges in his style, but I would prefer he leave them alone rather than trying to refine him – he’s got a lot of energy compared to some of the top names in the indie circuit right now, and he’s putting it into all the right places in this single.

Ava Archuleta

 

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