As Above So Below
Southeast D.C.’s Ankhlejohn released his exceptional album As Above So Below in December 2020—his fifth release that year. The animated lyricist’s consistent output of great music has given him a cult following within the city and beyond. The 12-track As Above is produced entirely by Brooklyn’s Navy Blue, who has also garnered a dedicated fan base for his intuitive and honest music. The project’s production is loaded with captivating samples that span from ethereal moans and smooth guitar riffs to low-pitched piano runs and chopped-up trumpet solos. Ankhlejohn enthusiastically raps over Navy Blue’s soundscapes with a unique delivery influenced by his past involvement in D.C.’s spoken word community (in high school, he hosted open mics at Busboys and Poets). He also demonstrates his lyrical versatility throughout the project; his braggadocious bars on “Man on a Mission” complement his self-aware and knowledgeable lyrics on “Final Destination.” The album was largely made by the artists sending verses and beats back and forth via email, but a few songs, such as “Look Beyond,” which features Da$h and al.divino, were recorded during one of Ankhlejohn’s recent trips to New York. In fact, the majority of the artists featured on the album are very present in New York’s bubbling underground scene. As Above So Below is one of the most cohesive projects released in the past year. Navy Blue creates an alternate sonic reality where Ankhlejohn’s lyrical mastery thrives, giving this release infinite playback potential. The album is available to stream on Apple Music and Spotify, and can be ordered on vinyl through the artist.