Beyond creating good music, the most vital characteristic in any artist is – in my opinion – growth. And growth comes in many forms but, more often than not, the greatest growth comes from recognizing shortcomings; from falling and getting back up, learning from the highs and lows of the evolutionary process.
“Ashtray” is the first joint I’ve heard from Ian Matthew that makes me feel like dude is truly stepping into his own artistically. And I mean that with the utmost respect.
The latest drop from the CT-based artist features Ian taking a few big steps back from a stereotypical, bar-heavy hip-hop sound, instead embracing a smooth style that is highlighted by some passionate crooning. And, man, it works really well.
Backed by some light acoustic production, Ian is able to allow the emotion to emanate from his vocals, capturing the attention of the listener with his raw delivery. There are enough emcees filling records with catch-as-catch-can lyrical prowess, making it difficult to stand out from the pack based on wordplay alone. With “Ashtray”, Ian Matthew puts the focus on his energy and his vocals, which results in a final product that is far more captivating than anything else I’ve heard from him.
While still staying true to his hip-hop roots, Ian lets a new side of his artistry take center stage. “Ashtray” sounds like he’s leveling up artistically, seemingly thanks to a growing sense of self-awareness and musical exploration. As he continues to shed layers of gimmick and allow his true emotion and heart space to shine through, the music will become even more relatable – and, therefore, more enjoyable.
“Ashtray” is available now on all major streaming platforms.