As a massive fan of rap and hip-hop, it’s fantastic to see an artist like J Wade get in touch with his latest project, Lily Of The Valley. It’s an EP lasting just over seventeen minutes in length; which is enough time to have that shower you’ve promised yourself all week, do ten push-ups, then call your ex and tell her you still love her. Let’s crack on with the review, shall we? We’ll go track by track.
Plan B (produced by dvnt)
Lily Of The Valley opens with Plan B, a scattered bit of brilliance with a free-form instrumental that is reminiscent of a jazz genius improvising a riff on the spot. It’s fantastic, with the metaphors flying left and right and the rhyming scheme only adding to the brilliance. It gives an immediate impression of a writer that has an out of the box, slightly sideways approach to the everyday observations of life. It’s short but sweet.
Just Enough (produced by Cloud Boy)
The next song is Just Enough, and it’s safe to say the tone of the EP is well and truly established. The sung lyrics sneakily keeping the track on time, with the rhyming schemes once again showcasing J Wade as a lyrical force to be reckoned with, clarifying he’s above the average rapper. I’m inclined to agree as the song draws to a close.
Madagascar (produced by Cloud Boy)
I see the title Madagascar, and wait with bated breath, with the expectation that J Wade is about to roll out some rhymes in tribute to his favourite movie franchise. I stand corrected, as the song kicks into gear, wrestling with more introspection from J Wade, giving us an insight into his thought process. The beat may be my favourite so far on the EP, with the saxophone scale being the most crucial detail surfacing from the backing track, giving me the imagery of driving around on a hot day with my friends (if I had any). On to the next record before I cry.
Trembling (produced by Cloud Boy)
Trembling is up next, and while it stays true to the style of J Wade, the song brings a beat that doesn’t feel as familiar as the rest of the EP thus far. It’s like a love letter to an unknown person, with the lyrics “yeah, you keep me going” sticking to the mind and giving a sense of compassion, unlike anything we’ve heard to this point. It has a guest appearance on it too, with Kari being a welcome feature on the record.
All I Need (produced by Cloud Boy)
It feels like Trembling has set a precedent for All I Need, with the track being tonally similar. It’s at this point that I realise how incredibly well Lily Of The Valley flows; it’s almost like one seamless song, with each track being a small piece of a larger picture. The nature of J Wade’s flows is that of a rapper who can spit rhymes straight off the top, no notepad required. I think this authenticity is not just obvious, but important in projecting what kind of artist he really is.
MacTavish (produced by dvnt)
I read the next track, MacTavish, and can’t help but think it sounds like the name of a TV detective who drinks too much and constantly reiterates he’s “too old for this”. Retire then, MacTavish! God damn it, you’re killing the vibe in the office. But no, this isn’t the case, with this song feeling like another mood shift for the EP. You could picture Shaft bopping along to this smooth track, beating the crap out of someone for a bit of information.
Stars In The Sky (produced by Cloud Boy)
Alright, J Wade is just showing off at this point. Stars In The Sky replaces Madagascar as my favourite and feels like another declaration of love for someone. It’s old school in nature; like an updated ’50s musical. It’s here where I have a moment to reflect on the overall feel of the EP, which, so far, is overwhelmingly positive, with even the moments of reflection feeling transparent and authentic. Another banger! What else can I say?
Broken Mirror (produced by Cloud Boy)
A Broken Mirror? That’s seven years bad luck! Haha, everybody laugh! I know my originality must have tickled you. Sorry about that, my wife recently left, and my dog is dead. Anyway, Broken Mirror closes out Lily Of The Valley with a definitive statement; J Wade is here to stay. He shows off the complexity of his schemes once again to conclude the EP.
After listening to Lily Of The Valley, it’s hard to believe it’s only just over the seventeen-minute mark, with it feeling like J Wade managed to stuff the EP full of content. One thing is for sure though; if you aren’t interested in hearing more, you aren’t human. Now get out of my office!