JAHMED shows us all he has learned and lets out his thoughts
Being a student of hip-hop means lessons on a plethora of flows, instrumentals and ways to speak on experience. When taking hip-hop music seriously, it is important to make sure there is the time taken in soaking in all that information. Once the information is soaked in, there is so much one can explore both lyrically and sonically. West Coast rapper, JAHMED, truly took his time as a hip-hop student serious. From listening to the likes of Ice Cube, Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony to Cypress Hill, to learning how to rap and produce from his late brother, JAHMED has been able to craft and master his own sound to match those he was inspired by. His latest release, ARMANI, ties in the lessons he has learned from these hip-hop legends and speaks on his experience since his debut.
Opening up the EP is the title track featuring Pomona rapper, Suga Free. He also makes an appearance in the seventh track, “FREE INTERLUDE.” These tracks allow for Suga Free to become the narrator of the album. As JAHMED puts it, “He’s narrating the project and he’s pretty much speaking to me the whole time like a subconscious.” Next is “USAY.” The bouncy keyboard looped production allows for JAHMED to question the music industry and the loyalty of women once he’s seen as successful. The video that accompanies it shows the rapper being robbed by two women and locked in a trunk. Continuing on this theme of success is “Q&A // WOOSAH.” The production here is simple with a basic drum pattern. The star of the production definitely is the vocal work. The adlibs and dubbed tracks almost act as the second voice echoing what he says as JAHMED realizes what having money means in terms of the industry. He tries to understand how he has to take the money he has earned despite working hard for it and give it to someone else and so much more.
“MAKAVELI” is a reflection on the current hip-hop artists that are entering in the industry. Whether they be rappers lying about their life stories or those flaunting on the internet, JAHMED is sure to emphasize he is not a part of that side of the industry. “Never switched on my nigga though. Why I want the juice if I’m introverted? I hide my face when I pose in the photo.”
“WIPE” is an upbeat hype song. Reminiscent of “Paramedic” by SOB X RBE and Kendrick Lamar from the Black Panther soundtrack, it’s a fun track allowing JAHMED to brag about how great he is and how he isn’t letting the labels try to take advantage of him. “Label meeting need a million and some leg room. Nah, tell them niggas ‘double up, I need my mommy lit’ but they side-eye you when you talk ‘bout ownership.” Immediately after is “GLIMPSE,” featuring Grammy-nominated rapper Freddie Gibbs. The drum pattern stays hard to allow for the lightness of the main melody instrumental to balance it out. The straight-forward delivery from JAHMED and the quick and smooth flow from Gibbs makes this track a standout.
“DIRTY, HO” feels like a much-needed vent session from JAHMED as he juggles with family, success, love and his mental. “ROADBLOCK” finishes off the album with a simple drum pattern and flute loop to ornament the melody. A distorted vocal takes a hold of the chorus. JAHMED reflects on his life and how he’s going to get past all that’s preventing him from moving forward.
By allowing generations of hip-hop to be a learning tool, JAHMED has been able to create a sound that works for him. His bumpy beats, vocal production and very forward lyrics on his experience gives an authentic hip-hop sound that fits in well with the modern music scene. ARMANI showcases all JAHMED has learned through making music, his time in the industry and life itself. He describes the project: “ARMANI is a word. ARMANI is love. ARMANI is betrayal. ARMANI is resentment. ARMANI is the current state of the world, how it made me feel and how I overcame it. ARMANI is defeating self-doubt. ARMANI is a process towards gaining clarity. ARMANI is family. ARMANI is finding yourself. ARMANI is redemption.”