redveil Makes His Own Waves on ‘learn 2 swim’ [Album Review]

Freddie Fine

At the crack of his 18th birthday, redveil released his third album, learn 2 swim. It is one of the most explorative albums I have listened to, containing an unparalleled use of metaphors with an overall theme that ties everything together with unforeseen levels of maturity and growth. He is achieving more than those twice his age on all accounts, quite literally doing it all on his entirely self-produced album while proving that he’s ready for the 800 meter freestyle.

The opening track, “together,” introduces the listener to the swimming narrative that redveil uses to portray his path. From such a young age he was thrown into the water, having to teach himself how to swim as his career progressed. “diving board” takes the listener back to this moment as redveil plunges into the deep end, the only preparation being to plug his nose. From here he has a long road up to the surface, but his never wavering belief and confidence in himself will allow him to get there.

“pg baby” sees redveil create his own lane, always staying ahead of the competition. While he is well on his way up, the others are still on the diving board, afraid of the journey ahead. He goes on to make clear what he needs in order to achieve his dreams, forming a tight knit circle of people he loves and trusts while not giving in to anyone who tries to stop his growth. His remarkable maturity emerges as an ever-present part of his success, continuing on “shoulder” as his youth begins to wash away. Despite the pain that this uncovers, redveil is ready for the wounds it may cause, and prepared to come back better because of them.

While the first half of the album sets the stage for redveil’s rise, the second half is devoted to growth, kicked off with the Sam Truth assisted “better.” The track provides a moment to step back and slow down, as the nostalgic feel on the production sees him reflect on how far he’s come, rapping, “I came from fighting for a day to smile to happy verses / So trust me dawg, I know the feeling when you steady hurting.” His newfound confidence in himself and his dreams shines as he continues to pave his own lane despite the extra obstacles in his way. No matter how much he is held down, even having to give up the use of one of his hands, he is able to emerge even greater, using his success and willpower to propel him to the top of the water.

For the final three songs, redveil unveils himself as someone who has found his purpose in life. From feeling alienated and constrained on “home” to finding his true residency on “mars,” he is able to realize that all the pieces are in place for him to be able to swim, rapping, “I know how to swim but I swear the blood thicker.” As vital as being able to swim on his own is, he recognizes that the blood, his family, is even more important. redveil closes out the album with “working on it,” reflecting on his rise to the water’s surface. He understands that no matter what, his pen and his family will always be there for him, and his unwavering belief in himself will keep him afloat forever.

Throughout the 12 tracks, redveil allows listeners to take a step into his mind during his treacherous yet well calculated arrival to the top of the water, landing at a place where is far from finished. This is just the beginning of what is set to be an illustrious career – there are many bodies of water for him to learn 2 swim through. Stream the new album below:

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