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The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

Bktharula’s launchpad into stardom

I feel the most fulfilling part about music is discovering an artist early in their journey. 


Scrolling through Spotify or Soundcloud to find the next big thing for your own amusement is one of my favorite hobbies. Stumbling across artists with low monthly listeners and high potential and watching them grow into superstars creates a delusion that, at least for me, being an Artist and Repertoire (A&R) scout for a record label is a viable career path. 


After supporting their music and early work, it is gratifying to participate in their ascension to a household name. Only then does claiming to be a day one listener feel so sweet.


For me, that artist is Atlanta-born Bktharula. I’ve been convinced Bktharula is on the verge of breaking into mainstream consciousness since the pandemic. Many day-one fans, like me, first heard Bk’s simultaneously ethereal and energizing single “Tweakin’ Together” in 2020. After hooking early fans (like myself) with her addicting flows and soothing vocals, Bk continued to release a combination of laid-back cloud rap anthems (including “Summer,” “Coupe,” “CRAZY GIRL”) and violent rage-inducing bangers like “Blue” through various LPs and EPs. 


Bk’s latest release, “LVL5 P2,” compiles all her versatility into her most cohesive work to date. “LVL5 P2” can simultaneously mosh in the club, shake it in the club, and cry in the club in the span of 40 minutes. Bk impressively pulls the best aspects of her artistry into a smartly constructed project, cluing into her inevitable success, and demonstrates why I’ve been excited about her for years. 


“LVL5 P2” starts with the musical equivalent of getting punched in the mouth with “CODE.” The song’s raucous, unforgiving energy quickly wormed its way into my gym playlist. Bk’s nonstop bars against haunting synths interrupted by a distorted dial tone are addicting. 


The songs after “CODE” follow a similar formula, then welcome a seamless switch into “BOI.” Taking a page out of Playboi Carti’s “Die Lit.” The watery, ethereal production of “BOI” combined with Bk’s beautiful autotuned adlibs creates an instant summertime classic. 


Following “BOI” is the Cash Cobain-produced “Shakin it,” which flips Ark Patrol’s “Let Go” into an addictive New York drill song. Bk’s voice melds into the beat alongside a solid Cash Cobain verse; it’s fun foray into a trendy sound. 


The album wanders down through short yet productionally fascinating “JUST MAKE SURE” and “WISHUWASDACREW” onto the album’s lead, and arguably best, single “CRAYON.” The production on Crayon is luscious with warbling bass against twinkly synths paced by unstoppable drums. Bk’s goes in with entertaining lyricism and cutting flows that create a nearly flawless track. 


Despite the impressive rap-based highlights, “LVL5 P2” closes out with shockingly good melodic tracks in “THE WAY” and “RACKS UP.” Bk’s confidence and vocal range mixed with an impressive, layered acoustic backing are reminiscent of Frank Ocean’s “Blonde. These two tracks are gorgeous and are even more impressive considering “LVL5 P2” started with such aggression. 


Bk’s distinct sounds are buoyed together by creative production and fantastic audio engineering. The beats on “LVL5 P2” are all luxurious and multifaceted, with several different elements equally bleeding through on each track. The track list and pacing of “LVL5 P2” is also notable, as Bk slowly brings the listener from the screeching highs of “CODE” to the lulling acoustics of “THE WAY” with ease. 


Bktharula has always been a raw talent, but “LVL5 P2” is more refined and professional while maintaining her charm. For an “underground rap” album, Bktharula has blown expectations out of the water. I’ve been preaching about Bktharula’s music for years, and this seems to be her launchpad into stardom.

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