In his new single “High Like This,” Avatari is exploring concepts in hip-hop along the framework of an alternative rock jam, and despite this being a difficult hybrid to pull off with any success, his ambitiousness winds up being the main star of the show. There’s a lot to say about the increasing swell of crossovers making their way onto the charts at the moment, but in a verse-driven piece as buoyant as this one is, there’s scarcely a moment in which our leading man sounds like someone who wants to suck up to either side of the dial. He’s authentic and very invested in the experimentation taking place here, which is always the hallmark of a true artist as opposed to just another IG poser. 


There’s a funkiness to this bass that could have been opened up a little more on the backend, but I can understand Avatari’s desire to keep this in pop territory as opposed to slipping into something deliberately clubby. “High Like This” could work as a remix in the future, but I can also see where leaving it alone could bring just as much critical acclaim as offering it in different incarnations would. Thanks to the quality of the beat and the dexterity of this arrangement to begin with, there’s no debating whether or not our leading man has a good angle over the hook, which is one of the main elements we usually end up discussing in tracks like this one. He’s got confidence, and from what I can tell, he’s earned every bit of it. 

I would be curious to know how many takes this vocal took to record, mostly because it comes off as natural and smooth as I would expect from someone with a lot more miles under his belt than what this player is currently working with. He has a swagger that is limited behind the realm of arrogance, and with the kind of voice he’s got in his holster, this is hardly commonplace among his peers. I like the potential he has for doing acoustic content in the future, but just looking at the caliber of work he’s already turned in suggests that we’re going to be seeing a lot of intriguing content coming out of his camp in the years to come. 


Although there hasn’t been a lot of pop music worth writing home about for the last few months, “High Like This” is a single that lives up to its name and invites us to get to know Avatari a little better than we did before pressing the play button – which is precisely what he wants at this stage of his career. He still has a lot of growth potential as we look beyond what this latest release is all about, but as a whole, I do think this is one of the few artists making a name for himself in 2023 that really has the skills and talent to do something beyond an album or an EP full of singles. 

Garth Thomas