Racism, excessive police force, and lack of government aid have long been a struggle for African Americans, but hip hop continues to fights back. N.W.A. shed light on what was really going on in Compton, The Roots have given us over 25 years of socially conscious LP’s, and Kendrick Lamar has dropped groundbreaking political statements blanketed as albums. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but you can find an overview here.
2017 has been a great year for hip hop, and it seems the most heralded projects touch on personal (or cultural) experiences with bigotry. Unfortunately, many “underground” releases get lost in the ear splitting, cringeworthy, and Xanax promoting mess that SoundCloud gets their money off of.
These Days, from producer Naturally Nice, rapper Josi Green, and singer Christian Jalon, is a breath of fresh air in this otherwise black hole. Naturally Nice resides in Bloomington, Illinois, but has worked with talents far and wide. He just put out his first official EP, Symmetry, featuring a host of talented rappers and vocalists, that is definitely worth checking out.
Josi uses Naturally’s downtempo, electro beat to tell us how he approaches life “these days.” Josi lightly grazes on his struggles, but focuses on joy, acceptance, and self love. He asks “more for strength, less for wealth,” but won’t let others hold him back from his ambitions: “if they don’t open up for me I’m gonna break in the door.”
As always, Christian Jalon brings positivity and warmth with her gorgeous vocals that sound almost effortless on These Days. It’s not enough to be a great singer; the lyrics have to match and Jalon continues to excel in this.
You can stream Symmetry below.