Disorienting energy is at the root of FELIX!’s latest project, ‘PLEASE DON’T STEAL MY CLOTHES’

His outfits, his lyrics, his beat selection, his style bear the marks of an outlandish artist who leaves a lasting impact.
Picture of Reece Beckett
Reece Beckett
Poet and cultural critic, writing primarily on film and music. My writing has been featured in The Indiependent, The Edge SUSU, Film News UK, Cinematary, Taste of Cinema, Music News UK, The EveryDejaVu Music Blog and more. Contact: reecebeckett2002@gmail.com

Massachusetts artist FELIX! was facing seemingly insurmountable odds when his new two-track single PLEASE DON’T STEAL MY CLOTHES came out on the same day Andre 3000 returned to music after a lengthy hiatus, Drake dropped an EP, and Danny Brown released his latest album. On Twitter, he claimed it was “FE! against the world!” Thankfully, FELIX! brings a raw and distinctive energy to his two new songs. His new release maintains the impressive quality of music coming from Van Buren Records as they continue to work on giving Brockton, Massachusetts a prosperous musical community for artists.

PLEASE DON’T STEAL MY CLOTHES is a short, dazzlingly effective one-two musical punch. FELIX!, working with producer Latrell James on both songs, expends enough passion for an hour-long album in only two tracks, a collective four-and-a-half minutes. He also leaves a lasting impression in that minuscule amount of time, which sees him rival much of his prestigious release day competition.

The single’s first track, “PARIS FASHION WEEK,” opens with distorted, pounding thuds. James’ production is immense, throwing the listener into the deep end with an aggression akin to heavy metal. The instrumental skips around wildly and unpredictably, living a life of its own with crisp drum loops, occasional whining feedback, and sporadic, uncontained drum fills that appear out of nowhere. The subtle digital grain is contrasted by various layered, lightly echoing effects placed on FELIX!’s vocals and ad-libs, giving the sound a carefully layered depth.

It’s an incredibly energetic track with a backing designed to incense the listener. FELIX! impressively meets James’ liveliness on the mic. He has a relentless flow with sleepy enunciation that sees his words fall into one another. It’s a fascinating approach, and it sounds fantastic. FELIX! brags he is “cut from [a] different cloth” and speaks to his reputation saying, “They think I can’t count, guess who stacking they dividends now?” with pride. His triumphant attitude, backed by the outrageous and boastful production, is clearly well-earned—FELIX! almost immediately proves he’s a powerful, and talented musician.

Alongside the song, Daymian Mejia directed the accompanying, appropriately stylish and playful video—much like the track itself. In it, FELIX dresses in various ornate, brightly colored, and contrasting outfits and then gets photographed, but its subtext is especially interesting. It visually refers to Andy Warhol’s Screen Test films, subtly aligning FELIX! and the Van Buren boys with the likes of massively influential figures such as Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, and Salvador Dalí. FELIX raps, “Kiss me, fuck me, just don’t step on these big steppers,” before standing on the camera, a demonstration of his daring attitude, seen in his approach to art in all forms. His outfits, his lyrics, his beat selection, his style are all striking and bear the marks of the kind of outlandish artist who leaves a lasting impact.

The second track, ‘PLAYBOY,’ is less manic but just as stylish and cool. FELIX utilizes a completely different vocal style, this time opting for a slick, almost whispery approach as he raps about his experiences with different women and his sexual prowess. James also proves his versatility as a producer, bringing muffled vocal samples and more traditional boom-bap drums to a guitar-driven beat. The highlight of this track is FELIX!’s ability to change his flows often and with ease, as well as his apparent sense of humor. The song’s hook sees him repeat, “I like girls that just wanna have fun,” referring to Cyndi Lauper’s classic ‘80s pop song, before a shift to “I like girls that just wanna make-” stopping himself before the obvious last word.

In only two tracks or four-and-a-half minutes, FELIX! and Latrell James provide a highly animated, disorienting experience. They both flow freely through a selection of stylistic approaches, changing sounds and flows entirely between and within these two exciting songs. Van Buren Records have showcased their ability effectively once again, building momentum and anticipation for any and all upcoming releases as something seriously exciting is happening in Brockton.

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