Published Oct 18, 2016After appearing three times on labelmate Jay Rock's 90059 last year, the jury was still out on who Lance Skiiiwalker was — to the point that some even guessed he was a Top Dawg Entertainment roster member's alter ego. In what's been a busy year for TDE, shooting for releases from nearly all their artists before the year comes to a close, label brass found the time to work the vocalist's debut LP, Introverted Intuition, into their haphazard release schedule with little to no fanfare, announcing the effort mere days before its arrival.
Unlike Isaiah Rashad's Cilvia Demo or SZA's Z, Skiiiwalker's first label-driven effort fails to paint a vivid picture of who he is, either as an artist or person. Though a few radio announcer-inspired skits position him as "a newcomer on the way, that don't really give a fuck what ya say," the problem is that Skiiiwalker fails to say much himself in return.
At most, one can glean that he's more lover than fighter from his breathy, soulful delivery on "Could It Be" and "Speed" in the early goings, in part because both run long enough to leave an impression. Elsewhere, the record's production is very fractured, with drastic beat switches punctuating a handful of tracks. An overarching haziness leaves some sounding like second-rate Flying Lotus-lite beats, though the back half outro of "Advantage" and the string-centric bounce of "Lover's Lane" provide some late-game redemption.
As a vocalist, Skiiiwalker often harmonizes up one octave with himself provided he hasn't pitch-shifted himself to different heights ("Attraction"). It's a technique that not only runs stale over the listen, but also hurts him more when pushing his range into its higher reaches, revealing that he isn't the most tuneful of vocalists.
Introverted Intuition shares its name with a cognitive function in which brains find themselves analyzing past and present to construct perceptions of their future. Perhaps such psychology isn't best suited for the album format, as only Skiiiwalker and the TDE camp know what that vision truly holds for the time being. For what it's worth, "vibes" are in no short supply here — clarity, however, remains limited. (TDE)