Creating a mood within a song is essential to making the narrative of its lyrics stick with the listener long after the music ceases to play, and for NoTraceand Glenn Travis, you couldn’t be asking a simpler task. The duo come together in the new single “Vibrations,” a heartfelt hip-hop ballad about the virtues of self-awareness and facing the challenges of life with your chin up, and along the way impart to us a contagious feeling of respect and empowerment that isn’t so easy to come by these days. Using non-conventional means within his composing, NoTrace’s music has gained a reputation for evoking enormous emotion without overindulging in its most sumptuous attributes – a tightrope for any young artist to walk. So far he’s been making it look easy, and this song definitely serves to solidify his sterling status in the underground.

Travis uses all of his range as a vocalist in this track, complementing NoTrace’s flow beautifully and adding a color to the melody that simply wouldn’t be there were he not present in the booth. Producer Dan DFS Johnson does an awesome job of capturing the timbre of each artist’s voice without muddling the subtle intricacies between the two in the master mix, which I’ve noticed has been a prevalent problem recently within hip-hop and R&B collaborative projects. Personally I think this is one of the more well-constructed singles by two equally potent talents released in the New Year, and if the momentum that NoTracehas been experiencing on his own continues into 2019, it shouldn’t have a hard time finding its audience at all.

The potential that both of these young men have in the music industry is unquestionably huge, but more important than that is the message that they brilliantly bring forth to us in this song. NoTrace doesn’t front with a lot of brash talk, lusty imagery and shocking statements about wealth, violence or bigotry. He straight up counsels a generation of troubled, disgruntled youth in this piece, leaving trite superficialities like race, gender and creed out of the picture and replacing them with simple truths like love, kinship, finding your inner-strength and employing wit and wisdom over weapons and warfare as ameans of discovering your place in this world.

Whether they were trying to do so or notNoTrace and Glenn Travis created a really intelligent, driven single that speaks to a complex chapter in pop music’s storied history through a litany of richly arranged harmonies, stylish hip-hop beats and boisterous emotionality within its lyrics, none of which hold anything back and finish out as strongly as they start us up. You don’t have to be super familiar with either vocalist’s work to be able to appreciate how special a single this song really is, and in fact I have a good feeling that the majority of new listeners who catch wind of this track won’t just like what they hear, they’ll be craving even more music from these two exceptional artists. Hopefully, this won’t be the only time we get to enjoy their meaningful collaborative work together before 2020 rolls around.


Sebastian Cole