Louis Culture: When Life Presents Obstacle review – melodic rap with raw charm

Louis Culture is a 24-year-old rapper, producer and DJ from south London. His 2020 debut project, Smile Soundsystem, journeyed seamlessly through several genres, including garage, breakbeat and house, and illustrated his ability to shift musically in a way that felt fresh.

His latest project, When Life Presents Obstacle, affirms an endearing and versatile talent, rapping in a melodic London accent. There’s something unadulterated about the EP: accomplished without being too shiny. The piano-rich 7AM featuring Bawo, with its subdued instrumentals and lyrics that bounce between speaking about life’s hardship and boyish bragging, is reminiscent of grime’s earnest early days.

Culture has too much fun to be labelled strictly as “conscious rap”. Still, political commentary seeps into these songs: “Youts really get killed. And the government blames drill, instead of cutbacks,” he raps on Southside Phenomenon. Kinfolk is one of the album’s peaks – atmospheric synths blend with intimate storytelling. His slow-paced rhyme pattern encapsulates a feeling of vulnerability and introspection. “Why they preying on the weak? I keep praying to the peeps. Hope they looking out for me.” An authentic project from a compelling, original talent.