Eddie Quotez’s EP Kawaii advertises itself as a complete musical work that was written and produced in four hours. Sadly, it sometimes shows. Eddie should have probably spent triple the amount of time, because the whole thing comes off as half-baked. If you are going to brag about something like this, it shouldn’t feel like you bit off more than you could chew. It’s too bad because there is so much potential here! Unfortunately, after the second track the whole thing deflates, when it could have possibly risen to unimaginable heights.
Eddie Quotez’s shtick appears to be that he is a video game-loving dork, who is afraid to ask women out and isn’t waving loads of cash in your face. He completely subverts the stereotypical rapper persona, and on the first listen his music could be taken as satire of the Hip-Hop genre as a whole. What an ingenious idea! Who doesn’t know someone like him they’d want to root for: the nerdy gamer in high school who thought he might have swag, and has now been given a chance at the mic. He attempts to blur the line between irony and sincerity, which initially made this a complex and fascinating listen, but by the end this is no longer the case. If only he had given himself more time to edit everything.
The first two tracks are pretty cool and feel like the remnants of what could have been. The production is super dense with its hip-hop-meets-video-game-soundtrack-meets-Hentai aesthetic. There’s also a pop-like bounciness going on that appears to be paying homage to current, weirdo, artist-musicians like Grimes and St.Vincent. “Marble Soda” is especially hilarious with its twitchy, caffeinated backing track and inner monologue that has Eddie second guessing whether he is in the same league as the hottie he’s chasing.
After that I have no idea what happened in the editing room! The production isn’t as clever, and there is a huge tonal shift that is confusing. Lyrically, a track like “Streamers’’ goes from charmingly awkward to just socially inept. I mean, hey, I’m all for goofiness in regards to a genre that sometimes takes itself too seriously, but if you are really trying to sell a line like “I’ll be here always like a tattoo,” then I wouldn’t even bother trying to hit the streets. Production-wise, “we should just be friends” is also a bit of a head-scratcher. With its overused finger snaps and slightly flat vocalizations, the song sounds like every other half-sincere R&B ballad performed by a rapper. He should be aiming to sound like the perfectly emotional Kid Cudi. Instead, I finished the song feeling like I had just been Rick-rolled.
I feel bad for picking on Eddie because clearly the guy does have talent. He proved that to me in the first two tracks. He has incredible flow and a clear-cut persona, which could prove to be unique and find a large, niche audience, if it were consistent. Knowingly being dorky and a rapper is fun, as long as you don’t come off as a slightly pathetic, lovesick puppy, who has probably said way too much. The biggest advice I would like to give to Eddie Quotez is to edit, edit, and edit some more. I love his ambition and bravery for trying something this risky, but I’d rather hear a well put together set of tracks than admire him for his efforts.
Written by Shawn Thicke
*edited by Kate Erickson