If you know anyone who has grown up with 80’s & 90’s hip hop, chances are they have long enunciated the death of it. Phrases like “It’s not the same as it used to be” and “Rappers were real” are often muttered in discussions about the state of hip hop in 2013.
I’m guilty of being one of those people at times, largely unimpressed with what rappers have had to offer for the last decade or so. But there are and have been some bright lights carrying the dwindling torch and Jonwayne is emerging as one of the brightest. If hip hop is an OD’ing Uma Thurman on the floor foaming at the mouth due to excesses of the past, then Jonwayne’s ‘Rap Album One’ could well prove to be the shot of adrenaline to the heart, to wake it the fuck up.
I heard enough on Cassette 3: The Marion Morrison Mixtape to convince me of that. Reflection is the first release from the album and it further wets the appetite. It’s a little all over the place, like the organised mess in your bedroom. An unnerving intro, with scatty piano chords, the track is full of interesting juxtapositions. An almost nonchalant delivery, that also has the aggression to pack a punch. Big, look how fucking good I am, to small and almost shy moments. I would imagine the fact that almost all his beats are self-produced gives Jonwayne an intimate knowledge of the beat which goes a way to explaining his near flawless flow.
I was once frustrated about how long we’ve had to wait for Rap Album One but I realise now that the series of Mixtapes are Jonwayne learning his craft and the choice of first song is an indication that he’s in a good place. Confident and slightly couldn’t give a fuck attitude, I get a real sense of the message he’s sending to hip hop is…I know what you’re expecting, I know the roads you’ve laid out for me, but I’m gonna find my own way thanks; I say it all the time but that’s when music, and all art really excite and connect with people.
Rap Album One is set for a 29th Oct release, you can preview all the tracks HERE. Zeroh’s Song in particular sounds like it’s gonna be in my top five tracks of the year.
Listen to Reflection below.