Having a foot in two different worlds isn’t an easy balancing act, but it’s one that DMV rapper-producer redveil pulls off gracefully. With new project learn 2 swim that came out April 20, he establishes himself as a torchbearer for hip-hop’s progressive, vulnerable future whose triumphant, soulful beats tie back to the great records of the ‘90s and early ‘00s.
“Feeling like you’re not 100 percent into any group can feel uncomfortable, but you can really spin it into a beautiful thing and reach more people than you would have being in one or the other,” he says.
Songs like “new info” and “p.g. baby” crackle with warm samples and pointed, purposeful rapping. Meanwhile “shoulder” and “working on it” recall redveil’s underground roots, featuring heady, baritone raps exploring themes of grief and personal acceptance. “Diving board” is the record’s thesis statement, a triumphant coming-of-age anthem that plays off of redveil’s recurring use of water as a motif to explore life’s fluidity.
“I create worlds filled with sunshine and water,” Marcus says of the sonic landscapes he aims to craft with his music and it’s clear his auter abilities have grown tremendously since breaking out with 2019’s Bittersweet Cry and 2020’s Niagara. Each time redveil goes away, he emerges with a new skill, and on learn 2 swim that’s a heightened knack for hooks and richer song structuring.
redveil has high-profile opening gigs with Denzel Curry and Freddie Gibbs this year and wrote much of learn 2 swim with the goal of thrilling live audiences. With this new record, he’s made something people can really luxuriate in and feel affirmed by, like a day spent beachside with loved ones.