Iamsu!, Sincerely Yours

Matthew Ramirez

By Matthew Ramirez

on 05.12.14 in Reviews

Sincerely Yours [Bonus Track Version]


Iamsu! is a post-hyphy Bay Area rapper, one of the figureheads of the fluorescent-and-pastel-hued Heartbreak Gang, and a rapper that’s quietly found wide exposure. He assisted Loverance on “Up,”, E-40 on “Function,” Jonn Hart on his minor radio hit “Who Booty” and, most recently, opposite Sage the Gemini on two-year-old viral single “Gas Pedal,” part of a wave of songs accompanied by regional dances that have captured the oft-fleeting attention of young rap fans, before moving on to command a larger audience. This particular corner of the Bay Area scene is unified and tangible, where the raps are light and infectious, the stars are young and affable, and you can create the perfect capsule of the movement in six-secondVine bursts.

Heartfelt spoken-word pieces woven through minimal, dreamy production

Su is frequently a contradiction: an album-oriented artist who works best on singles, a guy with real presence on the mic but whose raspy, unassuming voice hides clever bars. His first commercially available record, Sincerely Yours, is a document of this tense dynamic, instead of the perfection of it. Heartfelt spoken-word pieces are woven through minimal, dreamy production, fulfilling rap’s current need to make every album a statement. This cohesive, novelistic approach works to varying degrees of success — the melodic motif on the album’s first interlude is repeated on single “Only That Real,” a fun bit of zeitgeist-y slap featuring 2 Chainz (Wiz Khalifa fulfills his mandatory presence on rap albums a few songs later). Snatches of lines are repeated in different spots. You can hear the good-natured inclusiveness of HBK in the guest appearances from companions Sage the Gemini, Kool John, P-Lo, and the two giants of the scene, Too-$hort and E-40. It ultimately plays like the wide-eyed, optimistic flipside to YG’s ambitious My Krazy Life.

“Stop Signs” is an easy highlight, featuring Su rap-singing through Auto-Tune while a cascade of drums fall around the track. There should be more songs like it; as it is, the album sometimes drags. It’s a fun bit of summertime afternoon listening, the type of record you put on then find other things to do while it plays.