Track-by-Track Review: “LVLS” by Freddy Ponder
By Dru Era
Freddy Ponder is a producer, songwriter, screenwriter and college graduate of The Ohio State University. He was born and raised in Dayton, where he developed a passion for music.
Although he has yet to release a full-length project, Ponder's infinite EP showed great promise, as it displayed his versatility and potential as a hip-hop artist. In 2017, he quietly released a few singles to show a glimpse of his growth, but it was not until late September when he announced his plans to release his first official project L.V.L.S.
Below, I go through the album track-by-track analysis of Freddy Ponder’s Jan. 20 release.
This sounds like the opening scene to an epic movie; this instrumental tells a story of a warrior who’s walking into a battle and all eyes are on him as he steps on the field ready for war. This battle that he’s getting ready to face is love versus lust. After the opening instrumental, a vintage gaming sound effect comes on, opening up another layer to the album. What does it mean, though?
Quincy Powell (feat. BhadWaiz, Sarob)
Before listening to this track, I knew this title was referring to the character Quincy Powell from the classic film Juice. Fred is comparing himself to Powell, stating he has “the juice” along with featured artists Sarob and BhadWaiz, who paint vivid pictures of themselves. On this track, Freddy also talks about some of his goals: being an artist, making a lot of money and starring in films one day, while in between focusing on those aspirations having flings with different women on campus.
“Energy” most definitely fits the title; it keeps the energy of this album on a high note.
This is such a great instrumental with a dreamy, outer space dance vibe. Hearing this instrumental most definitely lets me know that it truly is another level we are entering. The sound effects now make sense because, just like a video game, you play to reach new levels.
LVLS (feat. Miir)
On “LVLS,” Freddy talks about the battle of falling in love with the girl of his dreams while balancing his passion for music. This song goes through a break up with a girl he was dating and has him coming to grips with his selfish ways. Ponder admits that he’s confused and is caught between love and lust--lust for women, lust for success--but he’s realizing those things are not what they seem to be.
Ponder contemplates the pressure that this break up has done to him mentally, and it seems to have his confidence low as he discusses previous relationships that all ended the same way. This is a true internal battle because his confidence is at an all-time low while he tries to sprint through the pressure.
[Re]Connect (feat. ZB) + Voicemail (Come Thru)
The rapper proceeds to vent about how he wants to reconnect with an old lover, but he knows it is going to end the same way: with tears and heartbreaks. Freddy lost a true love due to the fact that he was stuck in lust, and he knows that they could never reconnect because it will never be the same. Now all Fred has left is the music.
This instrumental is another level into the album; it sounds more confident and happy. It gives me a sunshine-after-rain type of feeling.
Javelin (feat. BhadWaiz) [prod. @GemCityNate] + Release // WavvyGroovy
These two songs show Ponder is now getting his confidence back, reflecting on his old relationship but now finding a new love. Freddy is maturing and learning from his past mistakes and is now a wiser man who appreciates his ex for everything she did. Now he’s willing to make sacrifices and better decisions that he wasn't capable of doing in the beginning.
Train of Thought
On this track, it shows that the hip-hop artist has a gained a lot of wisdom and understanding through his past relationships and is now more focused than ever. He has his music, college degree, family and he realizes that the love that people have for him is more valuable than his lustful thoughts.
This instrumental fits perfect, as it sounds like the ending to a video game when you beat that final level.
Overall, this album is most definitely a great body of work and I would recommend this to anyone. The production is refreshing, the lyrics are very vivid and the structure of the album goes perfectly together.
Friday Janurary 19th, 4 brands united to put on an awesome event for the people of Columbus; showcasing a night of Hip-Hop greatness called Snow Daze 0.5. The Cold Collection, GRG (Gods Recognize Gods), 72 Spectrum and Easy Co. brought over 100+ people into the Wild Goose Creative. Each artist represented their brand to the highest level and showed the audience what having a good time feels like. An upcoming singer of TCC, Jazi graced the stage with an RnB/Hip-Hop soulful sound that had the crowd in a mellow daze. After her set, alot of people like myself was amazed by the fact this was her first performance and how she stepped up to the plate and hit it right out the park in front of 100+ people. TCC rapper Static Res also represented and showcased to fans why they should take a listen to his latest project “Braindead” while keeping the mellow-hype vibe that the crowd was enjoying throughout the night. Snow Daze 0.5 also had the founder of Easy Co. Dylan Nelson in attendance. Dylan Nelson had artist such as Bhad Waiz (GRG rapper) dressed in his merchandise while he was performing on stage. Bhad Waiz was branding Easy Co. and GRG while having the crowd chant lyrics from his song “Riot” off his latest release called Bangers Only. 72 Spectrum rising artist Ananto and Ray Bun carried the torch as well, and proved to everyone that it’s just not about what you say, but how you say it, their energy was bananas (not in a fruitful way but more of a Gwen Stefani type of way lol), along with honorable mentions from artist such as Freddy Ponder, Didipark and Ped Paul.
Special Thanks to all brands; The Cold Collection, GRG, 72 Spectrum, Easy Co. & BOTU
Stand Out performances: BhadWaiz | Static Res | Didipark | Ped Paul | Freddy Ponder | Jazi | Ray Bun
Photos Credits by The Cold Collection:wenxinyang GRG: E Will
Closing Words from Dru --- “Columbus Hip-Hop keeps on showing that WE ARE HERE TO STAY! Columbus do support each other, Columbus do have talent. I feel this show Snow Daze, is another step in the right direction for the music scene as a whole in Columbus. I don’t know why everyone agreed to calling it Snow Daze 0.5 but I’m hoping there will be another, maybe Snow Daze 1.0?? Who knows, signing off…..”
DISCLAIMER: [The opinions expressed in the following podcast are that of the host and/or guest, they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of GRG LLC. members or affiliates.]
On this Episode of SUPERBHAD RADIO various topics were discussed from Sports, Being Black in America, Hip Hop Music and much more!! Take a listen :) https://youtu.be/YFSpDVThHRU
"We don’t want to preach to the audience, but we do want to welcome them into the conversation. We’re just everyday black American men who have opinions on disputable topics that can be discussed in a way that is not politically correct, but in manner that is easily to convey amongst the people" -Bhad Waiz
SOCIAL MEDIA BhadWaiz Twitter/IG: @BhadWaiz | Fredro IG: @freddyponder | ChristopherOsiris Twitter: @Iosirislord | Mvnny: Instagram: @ElGuwopoJR | Twitter: @Duecemadre
January 5th, 2018 the stars aligned at Skullys Music Diner for the 614 Kickback. GRG (Gods Recognize Gods), a record label/entertainment company in Columbus put on an unforgettable show! Despite the freezing 8-degree weather and other events going on throughout the city, 230 people came out to kick it with GRG. GRG showcased premiere artist such as Sam Rothstein, TrigNO, BhadWaiz, Young Luns, Georrod Shareef & many more. The show kicked off with GRG very own BhadWaiz & Georrod Shareef thanking the crowd for coming out then introducing the host for the night, Annie B! Annie B, a well-experienced host/Emcee connected with the crowd instantly and had ignited the fire for the night. After igniting the fire, she brought up the first performer who most definitely set the tone. (GRG Founder) Dru Era came on stage in a prison suit, conveying a strong message to the crowd that "they can lock your body, but can't trap your mind" now who is "they", that's for another article, but Dru most definitely came with his best effort. After Dru Era’s performance Annie B kept the crowd pumped, when she announced that GRG would be giving out free gifts to lucky contestants in the crowd that were willing to come on stage and answer some hip-hop trivia questions correct. There were a lot of people who won great prizes throughout the night such as Beat Earbuds by Dre and IPhone chargers (donated by Ohio based electronic repair company, The Fixins).
After the trivia, artist such as Static Res and Freddy Ponder brought a mellow-soulful vibe with their performances and kept the spark going on throughout the night. The night was going perfect and at this point the energy could only go up. When Georrod Shareef graced the stage and performed his hit single “Night Life”, it was that moment when the 614 Kickback became a 614 all-out party. There were people dancing on the floor with their cups of liquor in the air to ladies on stage twerking (This is what we consider being LIT!!). Annie B at one point had the audience give her their business cards while on stage and was promoting local businesses to everyone in a big card exchange. The 614 Kickback was not only a moment to have fun but also a place where people were able to network and build new opportunities for themselves. BhadWaiz performed after Georrod, and had a rock star - caliber performance; the crowd was excited once he leaped off stage and were jumping up and down with him for the rest of his performance. Well-known artist Sam Rothstein, TrigNO and OG Vern showed why they are some of the hottest rappers in the city with legendary performances closing out the night.
FINAL THOUGHTS: “A lot of people say that Columbus doesn’t like to support local talent, but GRG is slowly changing that demeanor throughout the city. This show highlighted that multiple creatives can be in one room and all shine without having to feel the competitive stigma that it can only be one, we all can shine while having a good time”. –Dru
"Element" which feature only hip hop instrumentals/beats is a 12 track album produced by Dru Era showcasing some soulful samples, hard hitting drums and some other unique sounds. Link--- https://druera.bandcamp.com/releases