Bolsen Pulls From The Delusions Of Dalí In New EP “GONZO”

Bolsen, the Vancouver bred alternative hip-hop spearhead, introduced the world to an eclectic myriad of comforting delusion in his newest EP GONZO, released on June 24th, 2022. The 23 year old music enthusiast has been in the game since the age of 12, whether he knew it or not. As a child living in the rather rural area of Chilliwack, British Columbia, hip-hop was a foreign concept until he needed it to survive. After his parents divorce, Kid Cudi’s “Up, Up, And Away” served as his eyes, ears, and backbone until he picked up a pen to materialize his fluid stream of consciousness.

Photo By/Cameron Corrado

Although the intention to create stems from a lack of traditional outlets, his afflatus was Vancouver. Between the rocky mountains, warm breezes, and hectic cities there’s an unavoidable disparate energy–comparable to Bolsen’s lovechild of rap, pop, and punk-rock. After finding the median among the mayhem, Bolsen took matters into his own hands and followed the astray. His first year into adulthood, Bolsen dropped out of school, relocated to Northern Vancouver, and made his first real dent in his dreams with his debut mixtape Motionless and Motionless II.

Everything Bolsen creates begins with a different approach, never subjecting to industry standards, which makes him that much more infatuating. As 2021 rolled through, Bolsen changed the narrative of traditional hip-hop among his culture. DUSK to DAWN was his Man On the Moon: The End of Day–an experimental, spectral sounding, transitional record that matched what he’s been playing in his head. He says, “Being an Indigenous man, being a Black man, at the age I am now, people tend to turn their shoulders if you show vulnerability, or want to cry and be sensitive, I’m supposed to come off hard because I’m a rapper, but DUSK to DAWN came from the light and the dark.”

His reluctancy to overshadow his vulnerability for listeners proved to be his golden ticket. Bolsen’s maturity amid the business sprouted from his instability, and like all great artists, he eventually accepted the madness. Following the paths of household legends like Salvador Dalí, GONZO‘s artistic foundation was delusion. “I’m inspired by the artist Salvador Dalí,” he says, “He would hold a fork in his hand and every time he fell asleep, he would drop the fork and wake up and immediately draw on a canvas in front of him. I thought it’s crazy that he’d push himself that far to create.”

Cover Art/GONZO

With that in his back pocket, GONZO was forceful yet intricately developed into a multifaceted project of expressively focused mania. The accurately-titled first track “MANIC” pays tribute to his progression as an artist. With eerily balanced 808’s, Bolsen’s soulful bars shatter the tension and rebuild a side of him we’ve never seen. “MANIC” is what Bolsen is, an elevated extreme of emotion and projection. With this track we are asked to enter his mind and understand where he’s coming from, perfectly delivered by, “They call me crazy ’cause I’m doing what I want now/You’d be surprised the things I’ve done, it made me hurt/I’d rather crack then stay something I am not now.”

In a similarly elevated spiral of resistance, “LEVELS” is his next step up. Stepping out of the darkness and onto the podium, “LEVELS” becomes confessional. Contrasting his heavily yet smooth lyricism, “LEVELS” is backed by a chaotically blush organ that provides consistency. While still idling between paranoia and reality, Bolsen brilliantly unravels the downfalls in idolatry with, “I got too many fakes, made lots of foes/these people cold/slam down your dreams/because they know they can’t come close.” As Y2k’s “FALLEN STAR” blends through into the mix, its hypnotic balladry transforms GONZO into its intended shape. This track allows us to hear Bolsen and his raw talent. Elevating his voice from conversational to in tune, “FALLEN STAR” shows a euphoric side of Bolsen’s delusions. Although covered in doubt he shares a gleam of hope with, “I lived in silence/but I don’t wanna live in doubt.” It’s the point in the record where you’re asked to take a breather and silence the noise.

Having already covered the remnants of pop and rap in the first three tracks, “HEIST” exhibits the missing link of punk rock. It’s screeching, almost uncomfortable introduction is jolting having come right after the warmness of “FALLEN STAR,” but it fits perfectly in the world of GONZO. Coming across as a warning, by pulling from Kanye’s signature hum in Yeezus, “HEIST” comes from the depth of Bolsen’s psyche. It’s hard to believe that the same person has voiced these songs through the first four tracks because his range is impeccable. “HEIST” settles down as “FIESTA” enters the stage. The repeated drop in energy signals the repeated drop of his monologue. “FIESTA” takes a turn in his narrative and brings forth a more playful side of his mind. Pushing aside the doubt and paranoia of the previous tracks allowed Bolsen to refocus for a moment, and “FIESTA” became his free spirited stream.

In a sweet combination of pop-punk, “FIESTA‘s” rhythmic energy is dropped and “GONE” begins to pull from the heart strings. This track showcases Bolsen’s vocal range more than any track on the project. In a harmonious chorus, “I don’t wanna wait for you to say you’re sorry/I’m not gonna lay here just for anybody,” breaks the fourth wall on this record and escorts the rest of the world into the picture. The record finale “SCARS” combines the hostile sounds of punk, lyricism of pop, and the utter poetry of rap to create a masterpiece that ties all loose ends, and it comes together in a cleverly executed ballad.

Bolsen is an artist of the unexpected. This album at its outer layer appeared to be a beat driven hip-hop haven, but every track said otherwise. It is a beautiful mixture of genres that don’t normally blend and no one thinks to combine–a genre bending artists well-deserved of a world outside of Vancouver.

Listen to GONZO here, now available on all streaming platforms.

Sorry! The Author has not filled his profile.
Sorry! The Author has not filled his profile.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.