With the recent release of his 4th self-produced album ‘Gaps&Normads‘ I spoke to American rapper ‘JoeJas’ about the new album, his musical influences and more…
The 21-minute album really packs a punch, it’s a unique blend of genres, although predominantly hip-hop, it’s also heavily inspired by punk, R&B and jazz. It is multi-instrumental and every song is musically distinctive; The London-based rapper himself said “this album will keep you on your toes” and he was not wrong.
The lyrical themes of ‘Gaps&Normads’ explore self-acceptance and the struggle of navigating the world as someone who defies stereotypes and doesn’t exactly ‘fit in’ in today’s society. This is highlighted by the lyrics “you’re told to straighten up when your path seems different” and “I’ve seen the cliché, tryna break that mould”.
The standout track was the single, ‘Sally’s Last Dance,’ it has an infectious chorus paired with a strong hip-hop beat and the lyrics although not extremely meaningful flow incredibly well. ‘Suedeflips!’ feels like the perfect song to play on aux to a party, it is a high energy hype song, that I bet is incredible live. In the last chorus Joe sings in a higher pitch, over the top of the original chorus creating a great atmosphere to end the song. The song also helps to close the album as it’s the last with lyrics, it talks about overcoming feeling different and being yourself. This perfectly complements the final song ‘Planet The Band’ as the jazzy uplifting instrumental piece implies Joe’s final self-acceptance.
The element of the album that was most impressive was the producing, as the quality is professional sounding despite being self-made and even the simplest of the tracks are creative and multi-instrumental.
The album is a completely self-made project – with no collaborations! Joe told me he didn’t feel like the album needed any collaborations, and that it he would of added some if he thought it was needed. Originally , as a listener, I thought a soft R&B female voice would compliment Joe’s rapping exceptionally well, however, I agree with Joe’s creative decision and see that the project is complete on its own.
Despite JoeJas having a unique sound and persona, the one artist that comes to mind is Tyler the Creator. Due to the ‘outside of the box’ outlook on music and similar mix of genres with his punk-rap style as well as his quirky personality and fashion style. This makes sense as when I asked Joe’s music inspirations, he mentioned Tyler amongst others including Pharrell, Timbaland, Earl sweatshirt, Chad Hugo, and Missy Elliot.
I am confident that the future for JoeJas is bright, in 5 years he sees himself with a “fire discography”, at festivals, shooting short films, as well as helping kids be themselves.
Links to ‘Gaps&Normads’
Physical CD’s: https://www.fatllama.co.uk/gapsandnomads