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Husband and wife team, Ekko and Essentials make up E-SQUARED – an Urban Hip-Hop /RnB /Pop duo from Vancouver, BC, Canada. E-SQUARED has performed live at clubs across Canada and the US. Their latest EP “Stares” is available now on all music platforms. The EP is a melting pot of varied styles, with a focus on gripping lyrics, smooth melodies, and groovy bass-heavy instrumentation, while simultaneously blending both old-school and contemporary leanings. What results is a sublime cavalcade of both penetrating soundscapes and vocal underpinnings. Following a synth intro, “Getting’ Paper” mixes triumphant talk and production with an electro-R&B feel.

Unlike your the run-of-the-mill artists, populating most run-of-the-mill radio stations, each line by Ekko and Essentials is laced with lofty declarations, and mellifluous choruses remaining firmly implanted in the not-your-everyday-rap category.

A booming bassline equipped with shimmering synths ensue on “Bouncin”. Featuring both lush, dreamy harmonizing and timeless production, E-SQUARED are at their finest, supplementing an intoxicating slow-burn melody with rich lyricism, virtually checking off all the points of what makes a crossover hip-hop/R&B mainstay.

“Ride Quick” is another standout, as Ekko and Essentials juggle creative wordplay to seduce their listeners with the aid of the admirable hook duty crooning. Both performers commingling their respective offbeat affection for one of the EP’s most exhilarating moments. Over a hodgepodge of quirky synths, and heartbeat drums, E-SQUARED paint a vivid picture of their grind.

E-SQUARED rises to the occasion by turning in lyrically spirited performances on “Do It Big”, and the amalgam of old and new school stylings proves a catchy, melodic success. Creativity, buttressed by quality and consistency, are substantial requisites to any kind of serious status in the music realm.

Not envisioning themselves as a pigeon-holed, one-trick pony, it becomes very apparent across this recording that E-SQUARED is as much of a lifestyle choice, as a duo of companions making music together. The EP’s instrumentals are lush, laid back jams that seem to promote the nodding of your head more than the shaking of your ass.

The master behind the boards, provides track after track of killer beats. His blend of slow to mid-tempo R&B and Hip-hop pomp, adds infectious synths and harmonies into the mix. Independence gives E-SQUARED the freedom to explore and experiment in musical directions free from label pressure.

What is important about this project, is that it supports freedom of music; the freedom to love, to experiment, to think outside the box. Over the course of this recording, Ekko and Essentials become urban chameleons, eschewing what could have been a formulaic but acceptable rap and hip-hop record for sounds and styles far more expansive and lush.

The purest expressions of independence on this recording, and the projects strongest instances of no-boundaries experimentation with rap, pop and R&B, come through in winning performances. Tying together this kaleidoscopic listening experience is a credit to Ekko and Essentials as curators, their effort at a fully reflective and personal EP—however enthralling it makes a great ride. All in all, “Stares” is a wonderfully engaging EP that is catchy, soulful, and clever.


By staff

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