As Is – Najee Janey (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Described as a 1-Track e.p, As Is is actually an array of five tracks which are merged together by incidental music and spoken word parts and which moves between, merges and melds all manner of musical styles from rap to funk, from hip-hop to R&B and perhaps inventing a few of its own genres along the way. But it is also a series of songs with real depth, exploring and questioning today’s world and what it means to be a black man in modern America. But it is also full of universal ideas and the self-exploration, the soul searching and the confessional moments are something that everyone can relate to.

Opening salvo, Tired of Being Tired, has the same explosive and claustrophobic questioning of the world around you that fuelled Rage Against The Machine’s finest moments but here that energy is bound up in the funkiest of bass lines, soulful harmonies and incendiary, bluesy guitar lines. At the other end of the e.p. is the more soul-driven Isley,  soothing and playing with a more sultry swagger. And these two tracks go along way to define the musical spectrum that is being used, explored and rearranged here, a mix of confidence and confrontation but also soulfulness and sentiment.

A wonderful musical odyssey, one which explores everything from the complexities of the wide world to the intricacies of the artists perception of that world, all put to an intriguing and exploratory musical vehicle. Tasty!

Najee Janey · As Is – 1 Track EP

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