Keith Phelps has channelled his visionary insights into prescient lyricism with this, his timely new EP Stimulus Package and premiere single Need 2 Know — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
“I create ‘audible chicken and noodle soup for the soul,’ ” the hip-hop R&B artist and producer says of his sound. “I’m constantly creating music with the intent to aid the inner well-being of the listener. Stimulus Package and Need 2 Know are part of that. The album is meant to uplift, but also address the heartache of the global pandemic and social injustices plaguing the world. It’s literally supposed to be the soundtrack that would get you through this unprecedented time.”
His fifth release, Stimulus Package was written and produced as Phelps’ personal processing of the year’s tumultuous time. “COVID-19 really put my back up against the wall,” he recalls. “I knew that, whether the gig was local or beyond, we musicians were not going to be able to go back to making our living the way we did before the pandemic. Amid uncertainty, fear, and anxiety, I consciously set out to make a project with intentions of changing my life forever. Furthermore, I really wanted to make something that would give people hope to combat the constant barrage of negative news within the media.
“Need 2 Know could be argued as a ‘conspiracy theory anthem,’ ” Phelps says. “But more than anything, they are just urban think pieces that encourage people to ask the next questions with regards to the information they’re receiving. I’m all about providing additional schools of thought that inspire others to challenge or verify, or possibly change their life’s perspective.”
The same could be said of the album’s title track, Stimulus Package; the remaining songs on the seven-track release round out the artist’s signature sage song-craft. “Songs like 2-Step Dip and Wolf lightheartedly highlight the ‘first world’ social media commentary that follows our ‘inconveniences’ due to our current global predicament,” he offers. “The unassuming crown jewel of this project, however, comes from the Kalita Records sample of Take A Moment by Carrie Cleveland in Love Me. I unknowingly, predictively, and genuinely wrote this song two months before the global ignition of the Black Lives Matter movement and what many would consider to be a new beginning for racial and social reform.”
Stimulus Package (2020) follows previous releases Any Given Phriday (2018), Real.Beautiful.MUSIC (2015), PHiNDiNG Myself (2014), and his debut, Phelps Phriday Mixtape (2013). Early 2020 also brought the single Never Thought with Dayve Stewart.