2019 has been offering up some of the most intriguing new hip-hop in a generation-plus, and among the more emotionally-charged efforts that I’ve heard out of the genre’s storied underground circuit on the west coast comes from none other than Hollywood’s Swigga Geovanni. Geovanni is a New York-born newcomer on the scene, but his first single, “DMLY (Daddy Mi Love You),” is a provocative, chicly-mixed power ballad seemingly tailor-made for the soulless landscape that mainstream rap has become in the last couple of years in the Los Angeles metro area. It didn’t take me much more than a cursory listen to not only understand what all of the hype surrounding this single has been about, but to actually get onto the bandwagon myself.
One thing that I notice right off the bat in “DMLY (Daddy Mi Love You)” is the fact that there aren’t any bombastic elements inserted into the front of the mix – there’s just muscular melodies and a whole lot of panache coming from behind the mic courtesy of Geovanni. The rhythm is medium-rare, and there’s a possible argument to be made that this is one of the only tracks to emerge from the shadows of L.A. in 2019 not steeped in groove-centric verses. Every element in this song gets its own share of the spotlight, and there’s never an occasion on which we feel like Geovanni is pitting one part of a harmony against another in some quest for sonic supremacy inside of a three and a half minute rap single.
As strong a west coast sound as “DMLY (Daddy Mi Love You)” has, there’s no denying the understated Brooklyn energy that our leading man is bringing into the booth with him in this track. Raised in what is arguably New York City’s most musical borough, it would be next to impossible for Swigga Geovanni to have come out of his hometown without bearing a couple of similarly swaggering moves that his forerunners once championed some thirty years ago. Above everything else, I really like that I’m not able to easily pin this guy down as being a west coast/east coast rapper – he’s too unique an individual, and more pressingly, too talented an artist, for me to even consider placing him into some prepped category shared by players with half the talent he’s got.
Only time will tell for certain, but based on what I’m hearing in this first song, I think that it’s safe to say we can expect a lot of good things from Swigga Geovanni in the future. He’s steering clear of a lot of the eccentricities that have relegated his contemporaries to insular markets with little chance of ever appealing to anyone else, and by adhering to a conventional pop framework in “DMLY (Daddy Mi Love You),” he’s maximizing his reach as a singer and as a songwriter (which is something that I would like to see his younger brethren try sometime). With a slight nudge into the limelight of the Los Angeles stage, this artist is going to be off and running as though he were born to shape this next chapter in pop culture history.