BC rapper Francis Arevalo’s Home, Grown Pt. 1 is a cornucopia of pleasures.
For a short time, Vancouver-based rapper/producer Francis Arevalo went by the stage name Allo. But as he told Discorder Magazine back in 2017, Arevalo felt it was important to break down barriers (self-made or otherwise) between his life and the art he makes. That commitment to authenticity and self-actualization is writ large all over Home, Grown Pt. 1, the first EP of what will hopefully be a prolific and productive musical journey with many parts.
Home, Grown Pt. 1 is a cornucopia of pleasures. The uplifting and inspirational “Home, Grown” featuring fellow Vancouverite Roya Bennett, kicks things off with booming horns and a wash of soulful beats that celebrates living in the moment, being grateful for the graces and gifts life gives you, and honours Arevalo’s creative spirit and tenacity. His flow and style feel effortless, his thoughts and words coming on like a perfect stream of consciousness. The piano riff that starts off “Sky (Swoop)” feels like its been lifted off a mid-70s MOR album and given new life via the song’s funky, freewheeling energy. Kimmortal, another of Arevalo’s locals, makes an appearance on closer “Gardens”, the sumptuous summation of Arevalo’s steadfast belief that there is power in the collective, that love can conquer darkness, and that the fruits of creativity — be it music, cinema, or the visual arts — has the power to heal.
You don’t need to know Francis Arevalo’s personal story to appreciate the impact it’s had on his art. It’s there, inherent in his songs: the feeling that he’s found and embraced a truth deep within himself, that he sees the world not through rose-coloured glasses, but in shades of optimism, hope, and beauty. Francis Arevalo’s sound is all that his EP’s name implies: a place where he feels most at home, with plenty of room for his talent to stretch and grow.