My internet has been out for days, so I apologise for the delay. That being said, hip-hop’s current malaise means even obvious releases like this are completely slipping under my radar. I generally enjoy Game’s material, but even he hasn’t escaped the effects of my boredom with rap as of late.
Nonetheless, it’ll be a project I’m certainly going to give a go, if only for the inevitable handful of car-ready highlights that will emerge. Game’s usual running buddies turn up, alongside some of the newer breed, with features from Chris Brown, Lil’ Wayne, Nipsey Hu$$le, ScHoolboy Q, Diddy, Elijah Blake and K. Roosevelt amongst many more, whilst the production lineup boasts appearances from Cool & Dre, DJ Mustard and League of Starz. It’s pretty much everything a mainstream hip-hop head needs, and is available to stream and download below.
Being associated with No I.D. is really opening doors for this guy, as upcomer Elijah Blake scores another big feature, this time grabbing one of hip-hop’s artists of the moment in Cole.
The lead single from his upcoming debut album, Songs About Melody, it’s admittedly not quite as instantly grabbing as some of his previous work, but it’ll grow with each listen. It’s a bit of a slow opening, throwing a bassy, relatively minimal production underneath a brief Cole cameo, before switching into Elijah’s vocals, a transition that perks the track up slightly. His vocal work begins to expand as the track evolves, switching out of his rap-esque delivery and into a more emotive singing style; though those expressive moments are brief, they anchor the song excellently, and their sporadic appearance recovers any drabness found elsewhere. Cole enters the fray once again towards the final third with a much better offering, injecting some intensity into the track with a slick, strong verse that’s brimming with a comfortable confidence. Worth a listen for the pop and R&B heads, and with the right accompanying video, it’s potentially got a shot at decent mainstream success.
The audio’s release caught my attention for the rare Common feature, but one play made it difficult to ignore the talent Elijah possesses. It’s a guest spot that was guaranteed to turn heads, but unlike many others, he does a great job in keeping up his end of the deal.
The production is a smooth blend between upbeat R&B and a more mellow soul style, with the middle ground it lands in being incredibly rare in terms of sheer versatility. The combination of sharp string plucks and bassy yet warm percussion sets those verses off at a good pace, whilst the introduction of more dramatic string work in the chorus adds a welcome step up in intensity and atmosphere to pad that hook out. Elijah’s vocals are unerringly consistent throughout, with his empassioned deliveries displaying influences from early Trey Songz, a little Maxwell and plenty more; he’s clearly a gifted upcomer, and it’s a performance that will surely gain favour with many.
The key feature of the video is the mixture of dark lighting and misty scenes, presenting a reflective, sombre tone that projects the lyricism outward; it’s smart, as in amongst the strong production and good vocals, the lyrical impact gets lost. A strong single for one of R&B’s newest stars-add this to other young upcomers such as Austin Paul and Steven A. Clark, and there’s every chance that this new breed could lift R&B out of its current malaise. Grab the track on the Bijoux 22 EP now.