Blk Jay drops a short but tight collection of crucial hip-hop.
On “Preach,” the opening cut of Blk Jay’s Blkout EP, the Duval-rapper testifies that “They’re gonna feel this: the reign of Black.” Over the course of the release’s short-but-tight collection, he backs up that testimony.
Vibes sui generis crackle through Blkout. For one, there is the evident quality of restraint. Jay keeps the momentum at a lax first-gear: “F’sho” is more confident affirmation than wobbly boast, with a rhythmic clack and subtle Bernie Worrell-style-synth glides flying through the mix. “Back in the Day” and “Ice Cream Paint” are Jay’s potent offerings of rap reverie and the history of the heart. “Scenic Route” closes it all down with blunt poetry (“young killer like assassins / trained from birth to catch a body”) punctuated with subsequent rhymes of hope and solutions.
In under 20 minutes, Blkout displays why hip-hop remains so crucial and mercurial: direct memoir, lyrical-observation-as-BPM-journalism, symphonic samples quantized with Moog-bass bedrock, and self-created codes and morality that are all about waking up to our own truths.