Every artist, at some point in their career, has to step from out of the shadows to announce themselves to the world. There are those who have a talent so obvious that one line on one song can say it all. With that said, the reintroduction of Jared Evan couldn’t have come soon enough. Releasing his first official album in the form of Boom Bap & Blues, the New York singer, songwriter, producer and rapper is without question the truth.
Having already released three mixtapes and an EP prior, each has progressively gotten better. Not only fine-tuning his skills as a producer, his emceeing has improved dramatically. His songwriting capabilities are now far more superior too – perhaps the time he spent with OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder helped. As a quadruple threat musically, and with famed film maker Rik Cordero looking on from behind the scenes, Evan should be riding the same type of waves the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Drake are; but for some reason he’s never quite got the break he deserves. Enter Boom Bap & Blues.
Teaming up with turntablist extraordinaire Statik Selektah, who produces the entire 10-track LP, Evan has put together one of the purest hip-hop records of the past few years. It has everything – rhymes, vocals, knocking beats, and an underlining story of progression through music – and will have listeners hooked from start to finish. Incorporating a love for boom bap hip-hop (shout out to KRS One), rock music and soul, the emotions sparked upon listening are enough to take fans of hip-hop back to what many would call the golden era.
Opening with a short piano-laced introduction, “Blue” hears Evan sing about striking a chord with people via music. Over the upbeat and inspirationally rapturous instrumental he introduces himself and the beginning of the story, spitting a few bars to let fans know where he’s coming from; “The new rock roll, the blue eyed soul/ Been doing this since five like the new iPhone.” Once the track ends and the reality of what just happened kicks in, “Uma Thurman” steps up and slaps listeners across the face, pretty much like the female in the track’s leading role. Showing his admiration for the Kill Bill actress in a twisted relationship sort of way, Evan, complete with movie sound bites, jumps on the “Follow My Heart” (The Manhattans) sample to describe the craziness that can surround a relationship.
Featuring the Eminem sample, “From the black side all the way to the white side,” taken from his “Yellow Brick Road” joint, “Black & White” hears Evan team up with Brooklyn rhymer-of-the-moment Joey Bada$$ to paint an emotionally monochrome picture. High on less-than-colourful visuals, the track is more about a mistrusting girl who has never had it given to her straight. Instrumentally typical of Statik Selektah in the sense that it’s a mid-tempo storyline incorporated beat – Statik likes to use samples that relate to the track’s overall message – it stands out as a prime example of a great collaborative effort.
With an underlining story throughout that screams the come-up and not being able to live without music, joints like “Toast,” with rhymer Hoodie Allen, play like the celebratory moment when all is well. With one of the album’s more simplistic beats, Allen actually stands out as having one up on Evan as far as rhyme skills go. Spitting, “Fuck riding in the Benz rather roll up in a tank, living practical/ Said I’m only looking for a rose, what would Axel do?,” the Crew Cuts emcee is realer than real-deal, Holyfield.
Vocally standing out as an album highlight, Evan comes with it on “The Devil Wears Prada.” With a slight step up in the vocal range department, the song sounds like something Pharrell of The Neptunes might do. Another comparison worth mentioning on the same track is the instrumental itself sounds like Statik might have taken a leaf out of 9th Wonder’s way of working; with an opening sample chop very reminiscent of something the North Carolina producer might do. Regardless, comparisons or not, the track is superb.
In closing, as someone who may never have heard of Jared Evan before, picking this album up would be a good option as far as exploring unchartered waters. Sure Action Bronson‘s verse on “Pro Create” is a bit lacklustre, and the album is a little short, but with the likes of Termanology and Lil’ Fame (of M.O.P.) also making appearances, it further proves the type of support the multi-talented musician has.
He’s a wonder kid with wonderful skills, and Boom Bap & Blues goes all out to prove it.