Just as quickly as they made a mark on the independent hip-hop scene, New York’s Ratking more-or-less dissolved due to creative differences between equally distinct MCs Wiki and Hak. Going their separate ways has brought vastly different results. Wiki transitioned right into releasing the highly personal and potent album Lil Me, gaining a fairly sizable amount of buzz along the way. Hak, meanwhile, released a project of his own, June. Through the combination of modest presentation and a lack of featured guests (not to detract from this project’s individual quality), it gained a fair bit less attention for it.
However, this has only encouraged Hak to push himself into further oft-kilter territory in his musical output, leading up to the release of his upcoming project JULY. This is especially apparent with the release of his fourth single Paradise with singer Emma Kate. In its structure and attention to melody, Paradise resembles a piece that electronic artist Arca would release, as much as, it does the Alternative R&B (with an emphasis on alternative) that Hak has become known for. Vocals are pitched and distorted for an uncanny effect. Hak and Emma’s vocal lines overlap in a way that is immediately captivating, and the drums are patient but propulsive.
Hak’s lyrics are bluntly sexual, but are balanced by Emma’s more abstract but equally evocative verses in a way that cultivates an unimpeachable atmosphere. Hak has carved out his own musical identity much on his own that will leave listeners waiting with bated breath for what he will make next.