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Single Review: Ivan the Greatness – “Power 2030”

Ivan Kelley, known best by his stage name Ivan the Greatness, has a lot of energy to spend in his new single “Power 2030,” but if you think he’s going to use all of his pent-up emotion to run a diatribe on the audience, you’d better think again. Keeping it simple has a lot of benefits in the hip-hop genre as we know it in 2023, and for this up-and-coming rap player, I think folks need to be considering him the king of lean lyricism among his peer group at the moment – and in the best way possible. “Power 2030” puts all the B.S. to the side, leaving nothing but true creative substance between the left and right channels.

I get the idea that while Ivan loves to push a provocative beat when he gets his hands on one, he does not like to swing – from the moment he gets into the verses in “Power 2030,” he’s planting his delivery in one spot rather than giving us a spread out, almost atmospheric kind of a feeling that some of the other rappers I’ve been listening to in the past couple of months have. He can do this stationary, and it’s an angle I’m not used to reviewing at all.

The rhythm isn’t the only spot where Ivan has me intrigued by his eagerness to get off of the beaten path; with regards to the overall muscularity of the melodic instrumentation, there isn’t anything in this mix to suggest that most vocalists wouldn’t be struggling to keep up with the sonic ebbtide, but he’s rolling with it just fine. If anything, he’s coming across as he does a lot better with the overwhelming element in a mix than he does the minimalist aside from the compositional structure itself, and his performance depth exhibits as much.

There’s not one verse here that sounds even remotely overthought; truth be told, I get the feeling that this was born of a freestyle that Ivan probably came up with not long before he entered the recording studio. It’s still got that fresh rhymes kind of energy but without a lot of the hesitancy that often precludes dropping something as wholly well-rounded as this product happens to be. When you’ve got something hot, you don’t mess with it, and “Power 2030” is a good reminder of this.

If what I’m listening to in this song and seeing in the companion video made in support of its release is any kind of a preview as to what Mr. Ivan Kelley is going to be doing on the regular from here on out, I don’t see where his fading into obscurity is on the agenda for contemporary hip-hop music as it currently stands at all. Instead, he’s coming for the culture and the influence with everything he’s got in his soul, and I think we’re going to see just how much he’s able to put forth in the next couple of tracks he drops following this gem in “Power 2030.”

Keith Middlebrooks


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