Chicago rapper-singer Galaxy Francis, formerly known as L.A. VanGogh, has carved out his own lane within the local music scene due to his uncanny ability to straddle the line between hip-hop and R&B with ease. When he’s not churning out thought-provoking, Saba-esque rap verses, he’s laying down warm, lively vocal performances, usually over jazz-tinged production topped off with grandiose horn sections and dense vocal layering.
On past projects such as his Everything Is Subjective series, Francis explores the depths of his inner-psyche, his relationships with vice, existentialism and his past.
But after undergoing a name change, announcing the May 24 release of his upcoming EP iNNERGALACTIC: Side A and dropping two brand new singles from the project, Francis is entering a new era as an artist, one where he invites us to blast off with him into outer space.
On this brand new two-pack, Francis trades the jazzy, neo-soul sounds that usually pop up in his music for a more accessible, laidback trap sound without compromising quality.
The first track, “Skip To My Lou,” is a hazy, smoked out tribute to the city of St. Louis. Assembled with minimalism in mind, the instrumental is sparse, consisting of little more than a scampering set of 808s and some broad, watery synths, setting up the perfect backdrop for Francis to deliver his breathy, intimate vocal lines.
“Smoking this, Reefer Alston hit the skip 2 my Lou,” Francis spits in the track’s first line, a poignant triple-entendre referencing his home city while comparing his love of smoking weed to NBA player Rafer Alston’s ball skills that earned him the nickname that also happens to be the track’s namesake.
The second track, “SOURFACES,” is way busier despite its brief runtime of one minute and 20 seconds. Over a more piercing, urgent set of synths, Francis brings a much faster flow and a lot more clever lines:
“I can see the future like Eminem in 8 Mile,” he raps in the second half of the song.
While some fans might be taken aback at first by the sudden change in sonic aesthetics, Francis sounds right at home going over these synth-driven trap instrumentals.
Stream “Skip 2 My Lou/SOURFACES” here.