Mixing some riffing, sweetly melodic vocals, stern lyricism, and a hip-hop acumen that is becoming all too rare in the underground these days, it doesn’t take longer than thirty seconds for “Head Case,” SK No Edit’s new single, to overtake the air around us with a dominating tonality that is unlike any other I’ve reviewed this season. By the time this supersized crossover jam comes to a finish, we’ll have experienced everything that this young star can conjure up inside of a studio’s four walls.
“Head Case” isn’t the most complicated song that he’s written, and it’s certainly not representative of an aesthetical shift in his sound, but what it does tell us about the state of this man’s career is surprisingly detailed. He’s solidifying his style in this track, backing away from excess and cutting out any unnecessary fat from his songcraft, all of which will be required if he wants to get out of the underground and into the spotlight of the mainstream eye. SK No Edit is demonstrating a lot of self-control in this piece, and yet still somehow sounding like a rockstar rapper whilst doing so.
“Head Case” is much more stripped down than previous cuts like “Burn Myself” have been, and I think that its raw, organic textural expressiveness could be what makes it a standout with indie hip-hop and rock fans this month. SK No Edit is intentionally staying out of the instrumental melodies’ way, and taking measures to ensure that even when his vocal is at its most angelic, we’re still able to focus just as much on the sensuous slide of the percussion in the background as we are the lyrical lashings he’s emitting at the top of the mix.
This is multilayered pop music on steroids; to some extent, I think that “Head Case” would likely appeal even more to alternative rap fans than it would any other audience because of its flowing verses, and more explicitly, the velvet-voiced rapper responsible for delivering them unto us. No matter how you break this guy’s music down, there’s no getting around his immense talent and the incredible things that he’s doing with it right now.
I’ve been hearing a lot about SK No Edit in the last year, and he’s living up to all of the buzz that has surrounded his sound in “Head Case.” He’s got so much swagger in this song, so much undying passion for the words that he’s shooting at us in quick succession, and if he’s able to maintain the spirit that he’s bringing with him into the studio at the moment in future recordings, then I haven’t even the slightest of doubts as to whether or not he’s going to have a really long and successful career ahead of him both at home and abroad. Artists like SK No Edit don’t come around every day, and although his scene is producing a lot of interesting sounds this October, his is a one-of-a-kind treat that is hard to forget once you’ve heard it for the first time.
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