What a breath of fresh air. In a world that sees new music scribblers and celebrators of emerging artists bombarded with cliched, mumble rap set to that same trap beat and taking that same self-aggrandising lyrical tough man act in an effort to just gain more views, likes, followers, money, gold, cars, houses… ad infinitum, it is great to come across someone working in the very broad urban music field that really breaks the mould.
And that is no overstatement, no parabolic soundbite that I can’t back up, just listen to the album, its easy to justify such a declaration. Old School hip-hop flow and rap abounds, you know, the sort of deliveries that actually landed with a punch to the brain and are mixed with re-appropriated spoken word pieces, juggled and juxtaposed. The beats strut confidently across the tracks and the groove is the clear king here but it is what is going on behind, beyond and between these structures which is the real charm. Glitchy electronica, classical sweeps, funky basslines, mutant dance and futuristic space noise all weave around the more expected sounds.
And lyrically too there is a lot to like because Whalan has something to say. Subjects move from climate change to conspiracy theory, the power of music, of love, loss and longing, of the world at large and the small stories that fill every pavement and every home. Of hopes, dreams and drama, fear for the future, solace in the past. Even the title is a challenge. We all know these millennials have little to contribute and nothing to say, live in their own little social media bubbles and have few original thoughts, they said so on Fox News right? Well, if Jackson Whalan’s quirky and brilliant collection of sounds and thoughts does just one thing, it forces you to totally rethink that cliched idea. About time.