Photo: Breyona Holt
In late February, Drake reintroduced himself with a surprise double release that included the aptly-named "Chicago Freestyle." The freestyle in question not only reintroduced to the Toronto R&B/hip-hop superstar but introduced us to a haunting voice in the form of Giveon. The Long Beach native whose each word carries with it a profound sense of emotional depth makes his undeniable talent clear as day in his debut EP, TAKE TIME.
There is a palpable weight to the breathtaking soul of Giveon. The very opening moments of his striking debut EP speak to the uncertain reality many vulnerable populations face on a regular basis. "Giveon, I don't know if it was fireworks or gun shots, but the bird was in the air." The single line gives form to the world that shaped Giveon, and, in turn, shapes the pained soul of TAKE TIME. It is a formative world of "Loss, guns, drugs, violence" but also love and ensuing emotional fallout.
Each of the eight tracks that make up TAKE TIME depicts him as a peerless R&B purveyor. The emotional plea of "THIS AIN'T LOVE" delivers a multi-dimensional appeal to relationship dynamics, while the minimalistic soundscape present on the EP's closing track "VANISH" demonstrates his power even when painting with the softest brush strokes.
More than happy to show off his wholly impressive range from one track to the next, the one grounding element throughout his striking debut remains Giveon's otherworldly baritone. His voice imbues every sung word with the timeless qualities of rich soul and emotionally-driven R&B, a feat that truly comes to life in the striking "HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY." On the underlying inspiration behind TAKE TIME, Giveon shared,
"What I want people to take away from this project is relatability. Each song on the project is based on a true story. Most of them are me looking back at past situations, but a few are inspired by what my friends went through."
And Giveon has done just that. Even as his voice soars to unreachable highs and heart-wrenching lows, TAKE TIME resounds as a wholly relatable project. It is one entrenched in the real-world experiences of this future R&B star and those nearest to him.
Listen to TAKE TIME below: