Fo Chief Follows the Complexities of Love and Vulnerability on Newest Album “Dark Matter”

Within Denver’s complex underground music scene, there’s space for any genre. Modern rap, which has shifted further toward heavy autotune, synth backgrounds and more blatant emotional messages, holds an interesting place in Denver. The predominant culture of Denver, which seems to emphasize strength and the call to adventure, does not necessarily align with this evolution of the genre, however, the underground continues to evolve explosively. Somewhere in a sweet spot between rap, R&B and soul, Fo Chief’s Dark Matter is moving the hearts of Denverites as we wait for summer to come.

Fo Chief, whose real name is Nicholas Foley, released his fourth album, Dark Matter, on February 14th. Appropriately, the album is a discussion of love, and even has a red album cover with pluming black smoke that provides a striking contrast reminiscent of Foley’s unique style. 

Fo Chief

Dark Matter stands apart from Foley’s previous releases in the very vulnerable subject matter, as Foley explained, “it’s a deep dive into my personal life and with that comes all the vulnerabilities of sharing yourself with the world” 

The opening track “It’s All Us” immediately pulls listeners in with a dreamy layered background under vocals. Alternative percussion catches the listener’s ear, piercing the smooth R&B-sounding body of the song and preparing for heavier lyrics. Foley reaches out to a lost lover with consistency throughout the album, ranging from deep sadness and longing to ideas of fate to eventual peace. 

Foley’s flows hang heavy over each song, moving with intention and a bold tone. This striking style is comparable to Mick Jenkins in the density of instrumentals under a low consistent rap flow. Alternatively, a style connection to Kid Cudi is also evident through the blatant and heavy emotional messages. Fans will hear their own vulnerable feelings expressed in the music. “I hope my listeners can find something in my words that speaks to them… I hope it could be as therapeutic to anyone listening as it was for me while creating it,” Foley said. 

As the album rises and falls, emotions shift smoothly. Track three, “IKNOW” pulls the mood out from a deep sadness up towards an acceptance of the complication of life. Next, “I Need Ya” evokes nostalgia for early 2010 rap fans, opening with a static-filled sample quick breakdown. 

“Call Me” continues to reach out for love, though with a warmer tone. “My love for R&B really showed up in this project and gave me the opportunity to challenge my songwriting abilities and try something different,” Foley said. 

As the album approaches a close it becomes more reassuring lyrically, emphasizing that “the night is young, the moon is calling, and we are all right”  on the second to last track “Mercy.” Foley seems to emphasize himself as a small piece of the larger world with consistent mentions of the moon as a looming force.

“My Y” completes the album with this lighter tone as well, complete with uplifting chords a snappy bass line and intoxicating confidence.

Fo Chief

Photo courtesy of Fo Chief on Facebook.

Foley has a thrilling desire to create “out of the box” music, and Denver is the perfect spot to do it. Creativity and drive continue to fill his life with music and ,hopefully, we’ll be seeing more from him in the coming years the years. 

Dark Matter was mixed by Mint Audio and recorded at LouieJune Studios. Follow Fo Chief on Instagram to watch the musical journey and listen to Dark Matter on Spotify here or explore the rest of his discography.