For a relatively quiet town in Central Florida, the music coming out of Lakeland caught my eye a disproportionate number of times. The last example is the young producer Kaelin Ellis, an Orlando expat and Full Sail grad who just released a new album titled Funk will prevail.
Besides his own music, he has built a production name with artists like Kaytranada, Waldo, Deftie and K-pop supergroup Exo. Ellis’ last, and probably most notable, star joint was with the rap iconoclast Lupe Fiasco, with whom he created a collaborative EP titled Accommodation in 2020 that grew out of an exchange on Twitter during the pandemic lockdown.
Of Ellis’ six albums to date, The funk will prevail is perhaps his most realized. That’s 14 leads of evidence that he’s operating on a layer above. Although Ellis is a product of the Soundcloud generation, his aesthetic plays like a complete musical idea alongside the creeping “simplism” of his contemporaries, especially on this sophisticated album. Dedicated to his late grandfather, The funky brings together the diverse sounds and attitudes of hip-hop, rhythm scene, jazz, and funk into a cohesive, forward-thinking sonic composite. Between the mix of guest musicians and producers, these songs pop with a vibrant balance between electronic and organic. The sum is a feat of cerebral finesse.
In addition to streaming everywhere, Kaelin Ellis’ The funk will prevail may also be owned as a named upload on Bandcamp.