Mesa, the project of Latvian rapper Gacho, has very catchy tunes with folk embellishments, and tight rap texts that are, as I’ve learned from Google translate, all about being decent and pulling through. It’s like Nas of I Can met Common in Latvia and then put on traditional dress. I wish more of the regional hip-hop artists were less ashamed to appear vanilla and therefore stopped foregoing the heartier subjects, such as staying at school. It’s absurd when a white guy with a higher education raps about gang bangs and stuff but when all is done in earnest, the music becomes beautiful and true. I guess that’s maturity, too, right? Funnily enough I almost broke my brain trying to figure out the very familiar voice singing the chorus on Vēl Augstāk. It was really weird, and I love nothing more than a weird voice. I finally googled and discovered that it’s Renārs Kaupers, the trilingual singer of the indie pop Latvian powerhouse Brainstorm. I was so glad to be reminded of them, since I loved them as a teenager but lost sights on the band since.