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Gerald Walker, The Other Half of Letting Go

Coming from the Midwest, Gerald Walker follows in the footsteps of predecessors like Kanye West, Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony and Lupe Fiasco. Straying from the mainstream sound that radio airwaves have become accustomed to, the 24-year-old self-claimed alternative rapper and vocalist turns to acoustic ballads and head-bopping beats to differentiate himself from today’s general rap population.

The Windy City residing artist opens his 13-track release with a mellow, Sunday-drive-down-the-coast track titled, “Entrance,” a soft-toned ballad that defines The Other Half of Letting Go. Mixing a smooth, alternative, neo soul sound with production by Cardo, Sledgren, Rosthschild and an old Timbaland beat (“What’s So Different”), there’s no question that Walker’s cuts are impeccable, but beats aren’t everything.

As a young MC from the Wisconsin, GW is still finding his niche in the flow world. Constantly switching between a choppy staccato flow, a drawn-out legato melody and a sted fast rap, Walker takes on the personalities of Nicki Minaj, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Drake and Twista, never letting his audience hear one true sound. The relentless change is pace and tone usually shows artistic versatility, but, at times, it can be distracting and take away from the song (“It’s Not A Coincidence,” “The Missing Piece”). But as a newbie in the game, his talent can only grow.

The mixtape might be titled The Other Half Of Letting Go, but Gerald Walker is shaping up to be an artist that hip-hop shouldn’t let go unnoticed. —Amber McKynzie