Iman Europe is the newest branch of the Lauryn Hill inspired artists' family tree; she not only wields a passion for true to life wordplay, but is also gifted with a strong smoky voice. Throughout her five track EP, Caterpillar, Europe's talents are still in the process of maturation and her inspirations are frequently transparent. However, like the insect that lends the project its' name, her potential to create beautiful music has yet to be realized. Even after a number of plays and the ability to move on to more seasoned artists, there was something about Caterpillar that forced me to come back for more. Perhaps it was Iman's vocals, the production, or the lyrics, but most likely, it was the youthful creative energy that ties all those qualities together.
"Rocket" is a boisterous way to open EP and quite the first impression. Iman Europe adopts a jazzy tone, reminiscent of a colder, street hardened Erykah Badu, while an urgent piano and break beat like drum set come together in a wonderful marriage of sound. "Rocket" feels like an anxious, heartfelt attempt at a neo-soul and jazz fusion, which works. Iman and her collaborators—Buda, Grandz, and Beat Butcha (all of whom contributed to the instrumental)—made an intoxicating blend that feels like the urgent youth and streets of Urban America.
Europe's most adventurous and challenging track comes at the conclusion of the EP, with "Wolf Cry." While this track is not the longest on the project, it may be the most emotionally draining of the five. Iman softly sings through near six minutes, spewing out dreary positive lines; the record is a positive message wrapped in the most painful, near heartbroken melodies. It brings to mind another singer/rapper, but from New Orleans, Mary Gold, who specializes in the lo-fi, doom R&B.
Caterpillar is a short project, roughly close to a half an hour. Iman serves a lot of different styles even in this limited amount of time: from old school New York ("Ice/Cold"), to new age R&B/rap ("Bound To Fly") there is something for everyone. Her versatility is admirable and will be a quality that helps her succeed in the future, at the moment though she still has a few kinks to work out and to figure out what her own sound is going to be. Regardless, Caterpillar is a good EP that will make you want to wait and follow Ms. Europe's next move.