Photo: Leandro Lara
Though Michigan may not be currently known as a hotbed of hip-hop culture, things might be changing soon. Hot off the release of his 2020 record SHANGO, Michigan-based production powerhouse Sango returns with Lake Effect, his newest full-length collaboration with rapper and fellow Michiganite Waldo. Two years have passed since their last collaborative record, Grove, but Lake Effect sees the two delivering eclectic hip-hop tracks so polished that it feels like they never left.
If this is your first time hearing about Sango or Waldo, then consider Lake Effect the perfect introduction to two of the midwest's finest artists. Over the record's sixteen tracks, Sango pulls no punches as he constantly delivers the listener carefully crafted and forward-thinking mixes. Whether on the nostalgic and soulful album-opener "Hit You When I Land" or on the lofty yet hard-hitting banger "Carhartt," Sango seems to always stick the landing no matter what form his music takes.
Serving as the perfect foundation for some tightly-woven rapping, Sango's Lake Effect mixes find a happy home alongside Waldo's dynamic and versatile lyrical flow. Joined by a wide host of guests from Jay2 to Jay Anthony, Waldo's writing remains consistently top-notch and brimming with chemistry no matter who he finds himself paired alongside. Some tracks are more downtempo and lyrical, others more high-energy and hi-hat-laden, but no matter what curveball Sango throws towards Waldo, the Grand Rapids duo seem to inexplicably deliver classic after classic.
Showcasing a healthy variety of styles and sounds from both Grand Rapids artists, Lake Effect is hopefully the first of many records to push Michigan closer to the forefront of hip-hop culture. Serving as a meticulously creative love letter to Grand Rapids, Sango and Waldo aren't stopping until Michigan and its artists break into the hip-hop stratosphere.
Listen to Lake Effect below: