lor2mg’s new tape is a melodic rap moonbeam

Image from “LOR4LIFE” music video


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The lore of lor2mg runs deep. The California-based artist began sharing music under the alias in 2021 with wurds 2 hear, a post-hyperpop project that, while tentative in its execution, brought together noisy electronics with celestial underground rap and lots of ethereal vocal melodies — think Amy Lee meets Bladee. From there, they began exploring guitar music on projects like 海の歌, it gets worse n worse, and daisies, where they remolded Beach House-style dream-pop and brought slowcore’s pace to the shoegaze revival. Rapping was never abandoned — unrequited and cicada, two full-lengths that ratcheted up the intensity, were released in 2022. Through it all, lor2mg’s songwriting grew stronger as their catalog became a self-contained dream of a shuffle playlist, jumping between moods and genres while making brand new connections.

Their new tape LOR4LIFE is a fascinating new link in their chain. The seven-track project has the cracked MacBook screen charm of early emo-rap like GothBoiClique with a ravier tint that’s far less deferential to its inspirations. Lor flexes a classic trap-friendly flow on the project’s eponymous opening track, but their voice is hidden behind layers of digital fog in a beat from producers i_hear_static and cloak. Despite the song’s lo-fi sleekness, it has the addictive vibe and the stakes of a hotboxed freestyle in a Wal-Mart parking lot. “Come on come on, tell me what the hate’s for,” they rap as synths glitter and bounce around her words, “Callin’ me a manic pixie dream Lor / Talkin’ lots of shit ‘cause you’re hella bored / Always rep myself ‘cause I know Imma soar.”

And while the Kreayshawn vibes are always welcome, it’s when Lor leans on their talent for melodies that things really stick. On songs like the chilled-out “growth spurt” and the gothic ambient-infused “dark,” Lor brings an avant-pop sensibility to their flows and turns their syllables into colors rather than portions of words. The project hits an emotional peak with the songs “intertwined” — which sounds like an 808s and Heartbreak-obsessed Liz Harris collaborating with Working on Dying — and “twice,” where Lor’s voice is sublimated into the beat’s stormy, chrome-colored atmosphere.

The last thing we hear on “twice” is Lor whispering “I hate to say it, but I’m not alright.” Then the next song begins with the instantly recognizable scatting of “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. It’s a jarring move considering how hard the rest of LOR4LIFE’s sincerity hits, and easily the project’s weakest moment. Still, the switch is part and parcel of the Lor experience: on May 7, they’ll share “finally,” the first and only single from their upcoming album Sunny Paws. Who knows what it’ll sound like, but not knowing is half the fun of keeping up with lor2mg.