By Billy Bugara and Mya

The years and years of speculation have finally come to rest with the release of “E” — the long-awaited and highly anticipated debut full length album by Ecco2k. 

One cannot emphasize enough the importance of this release as a landmark in the underground scene, as the Drain Gang mainstay has repeatedly teased and alluded to a project all to his own to match his fellow group members. And despite his contemporaries coming through with projects upon projects of their own that almost always featured him in some sort of fashion, Ecco waited until the waning moments of the decade he so valiantly helped to define to release his signature offering.

To set an important notion into stone, all of the buildup and anticipation towards the lofty stature of a project like this have paid off through sheer quality and style, as “E” delivers on nearly everything it was perceived as becoming for all of those years. 

The album takes the standards that, as stated before, were solidified by Ecco himself and takes them in an even more nuanced direction than even some of this year’s best projects in that style have done. 

Ecco dares to build a conceptualization of a world all to his own throughout the album’s entire runtime — achieving this through multiple facets ranging from pure sonic value to the commonalities within its lyrical sentiments.

Speaking on sonics, listeners will indeed notice the prominent production provided by the always consistent Yung Gud and numerous others who utilized a telling combination of subtlety and mystique to perfectly accompany the stories and mantras being laid down.

This collaborative effort results in a project not restricted to one single genre, as it breaks the barrier of simply being defined by terms like alternative, electronic, or even simply hip-hop as its known.

Tracks like “Don’t Ask” exemplify this notion in full, as Gud uses seldom hip-hip elements within the beat to create a feeling exclusive to that track alone.

As the production lays the project’s groundwork and provides an essential domain for this unique world to be built, Ecco wastes no time in applying his signature delivery directly upon it through shifting from verses of complete earnestness to direct phrases of angst and outbursting emotion. The slightly disjointed yet consistently flowing narrative drives home the fact that the listener is being taken on a ride that could only be provided through an artist like him. 

This ride is presented as a complete journey through a mind that listeners have been waiting to dive deeper into for a very long time now in its own right. The common aspects of drug abuse, heartbreak, and the ever-escaping sense of time are all boldly detailed through the lens of someone we have only heard bits and pieces of throughout the years. Now with the spotlight all to his own, these aspects can finally be fleshed out through Ecco’s point of view.

His definitively concrete vocal style – which ranges from intense to subdued on multiple occasions – all but compliments both aforementioned facets of the project as a whole. Even in just 30 minutes of runtime, Ecco finds a myriad of ways in accomplishing this feat.

Tracks like “Peroxide” see him create a bouncy, upbeat feeling through sheer delivery alone, where as on examples like “Blue Eyes,” his vocals motivate a poignant ending to the album all by themselves.

As it stands, “E” will have listeners excited not just for the long awaited first listen, but time and time again. The future of Ecco and Drain Gang as a whole is not in peril, but it is repeatedly saturated in the unknown. Projects like this help to clear up the fog that is inherently created after each of their members deliver essential release after essential release, and it is easy to say that this one has certainly cleared up the most out of any this year.