The Lasso – “Will We Be Us Again?” (Feat. Hemlock Ernst)
One of the strangest, coolest ongoing stories in indie rock is Future Islands frontman Samuel T. Herring maintaining a side-project career as an underground rapper and being really good at it. Over the years, Herring, rapping under the name Hemlock Ernst, has collaborated with people like Madlib, Open Mike Eagle, and R.A.P. Ferreira. In 2019, Herring teamed up with producer Kenny Segal to make a really good rap album called Back At The House. And today, he’s on a new track.
Last year, Elucid, one half of Armand Hammer, teamed up with a Michigan producer known as the Lasso to form a new duo called Small Bills and to release an impressive album called Don’t Play It Straight. This was my first time hearing of the Lasso, but he’s got a cool style — a richly layered but oblique lurch. Today, the Lasso has released a new solo album called 2121. It’s not an instrumental LP; every track has vocals. And it’s not really rap, either; a lot of it is breezy, off-kilter funk.
The album features appearances from rappers like Fat Tony and Lando Chill. And on the song “Will We Be Us Again,” Samuel T. Herring takes the mic, rapping with gravelly ease about generational trauma. He also sings a bit towards the end of the track. I’m pretty sure this is Herring’s first Hemlock Ernst track since Future Islands released the album As Long As You Are last year, and it’s a good one. Listen below.
While you’re at it, go ahead and stream all of 2121 below.
2121 is out now on Mello Music Group.