LA-based rapper Buddy debuted his highly anticipated first album Harlan & Alondra today, which features his breakout singles “Black” feat. A$AP Ferg and “Trippin” feat. Khalid. This album follows the release of his 2017 projects Magnolia and Ocean & Montana, both of which were received with wild enthusiasm.
The young rapper has made incredible strides for his age, currently at almost 2 million monthly listeners on Spotify and getting recognition from major players like Snoop Dogg, Pharrell, A$AP Ferg, Khalid and Wiz Khalifa. There’s so much to say about his album, we decided to condense our review into five immediate takeaways so you can finish reading and get listening.
1) Artists Who “Make It” Young Still Need Independence.
Being signed by Pharrell and hit up for collaborations with Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar is about as close to a dream come to life as a young rapper can get. Despite his successes, Buddy broke out on his own in 2016 to regain control of his artistry and work on his own project. Harlan & Alondra is a testament to his independence as an artist.
2) He’s Loyal.
It’s no secret that Compton historically produces groundbreaking rappers and hip-hop artists. The son of a preacher and recovered addict, Buddy’s upbringing in the streets of South Central LA is reflected in the verses of his music. He’s not only loyal in terms of geography, but loyal to his family and community–a fact which is even apparent in his album art, which features a vintage family photo. Additionally, Buddy uses his platform to feature powerhouse tracks like “Black” (feat. A$AP Ferg) as empowering anthems for people of color; all the while bringing attention to the prejudice that still plagues our country. He addresses his representation of LA, saying it’s “not just for the hood or the strip club, but for the beach, the freeway, the hills, downtown. I wanted to paint a well-rounded portrait of my home city.“
3) Even His Serious Songs Are Uplifting.
Buddy seamlessly merges the worlds of rapping and singing, as well as being generous with his samples, a combination which makes his music feel both versatile and energetic. “The Blue (feat. Snoop Dogg)” has lush layered harmonies and details a summer romance, while “Speechless” is a simmering R&B track that almost features his singing more than his rapping. “Real Life S**t,” “Trouble On Central” and “Black (feat. A$AP Ferg)” are lyrically heavier and deal with the difficulties the rapper experiences on a daily basis, yet still evoke a strong feeling of inspiration and hope.
1) He Got Heavy with Collabs.
Harlan & Alondra features tracks with big timers like Ty Dolla $ign, A$AP Ferg, Snoop Dogg, and Khalid, as well as up and coming hip-hop sensation Guapdad 4000. Having such iconic names on his tracks validates his album and elevates him to the level he raps about reaching someday. Buddy addressed the struggle to get to the top, and his certainty that he’ll get there, saying
"Death is inevitable, so life for me is about getting as high as you can. I’m coming for my place among the successful. I’m blessed to have music as an outlet to express myself.”
5) Seeing Him Live is a Must.
Buddy is currently on tour with A$AP Ferg, which comes to a close after their upcoming Lollapalooza performance. The rapper is opening for pop sensation Dua Lipa at a Lollapalooza aftershow as well. Harlan & Alondra is an album that was made to be performed, and seeing the young rapper live should be on everyone’s to-do list.
For more from Buddy, revisit our All Eyes On performance below.