Out of all the low-key hubs for Rap music around the country, North Carolina just might be the most slept on. Whether artists are local legends, barely coming onto the scene, or on the cusp of breaking through to the masses, there are so many different styles and talents coming out of the East Coast state. Out of all the artists, Jaah SLT is one person who I have only just recently found out about but have enjoyed diving deeper into his archives.
With the announcement of his upcoming project 9-25-20, which is set to release that very day later this month, he decided to get even more momentum moving in his direction be releasing a music video and a single off of the project entitled “Grimey”. He recruited fellow SLT member Sleep Walkin SLT to assist him and although this was my first introduction to his crewmate, I was thoroughly impressed. Spread-out, tiptoeing, somewhat creepy synths create a simple melody for the instrumental while rattling percussion and speaker busting 808s take the mainstage and provide Jaah with a hard-hitting base to build off of.
As he comes in, he divides up his lines, reciting a few words at a time before switching to a bit more fluid cadence that is inevitably going to switch again. Although there is a sort of nonchalant quality of security behind his voice that opposes the haunting nature of the instrumental, there also seems to be some sort of menacing, looming mannerisms that accompany his delivery. At certain points, his ad-libs elevate his verse, even more, providing some enthusiasm and energy in the distance to back up his main vocals. He just seems to play with his words over the beat, not taking anything too serious although certain topics he discusses are pretty ruthless, alluding to the idea that he’s almost insane and he’s definitely not one to be messed with.
Sleep Walkin SLT talks the second verse and considering I knew nothing about him beforehand, I had no expectations. Luckily, his deep voice and unphased delivery were a perfect addition to the track and it contributed so much to keeping things fresh and original, never allowing the song to get monotonous or boring which can happen at times when the beat is as simplistic as this one is. All in all, the two SLT members sound nothing alike but level each other up in a way that’s hard to explain in words but is understandable as soon as you give this song a listen.
When the video first begins, reddish-pinkish hands are reaching towards Jaah as he sits in front of a television screen, appearing to tease these beings considering the fact that he seems to know they can’t get to him. Eventually, Jaah takes slings his backpack over his shoulders and makes his way to some sort of empty room or warehouse. In the background, fluorescent lights illuminate the majority of the white room that looks almost like it could be from the future, as a black silhouette moves around behind the rapper before he moves away from this scene and heads to another setting where he sits on a couch and continues to spit his bars. As Sleep Walkin comes in, he slams a newspaper down before he’s shown in a backyard in broad daylight where he’s joined by Jaah and another friend of theirs. Newspapers seem to be a reoccurring theme for some reason throughout his verse as another shot shows random papers lining the wall behind him. As Jaah comes in for one more quick hook to round out the song, he pretends as if he’s going to cut off some of his dreads before laughing and shaking his head, sending the camera off into the distance and ending the visual.
While I can’t say that this video was anything mind-blowing or crazy, in all honesty, I did actually like the song a lot. The simplistic nature of the instrumental combined with the hard-hitting, unapologetic bars delivered by Jaah worked together seamlessly, and Sleep Walkin, although a new name for me, offered up a fascinating verse that definitely helped bring this track to new heights. When 9-25-20 is delivered later this month, that’ll mark the second project of the year for Jaah, and if he is able to keep up with consistently dropping quality music like he has been all year, I think there’s no question that he’s going to be the next big thing out of North Carolina sooner rather than later. As we wait to see what else he has to offer us on the upcoming project, prepare yourselves by tuning into his most recent single “Grimey” as well as the music video that comes along with it.