Chris B loads this track up with personal truth and a level of angst-filled expression – giving the release character, but also the potential to connect with hip hop fans who turn to the genre as something that will scream out on behalf of those issues they’ve been bottling up.
Still Up is a unique single for this and a fair few other reasons. The sound of Chris B’s voice is a big part of it – there’s a certain tone and personality that you quickly pin-point as purely his for now. The musical backdrop is another – there’s a careful meeting between the dreamlike and the industrial, waves of synths contrast with a tripped up creative beat, and all the while the weight and confidence of the lyrical outpouring drives the song and its sentiments through in a striking way.
For fans of hip hop, recent years have seen perhaps the greatest concentration of releases ever – many of which have fallen below par writing-wise as mumble rap secured its place among the mainstream audience. On the other hand, some of the best, most expressive and creative albums ever have also emerged. The bar is high if you want to push through, and knowing who you are as an artist and what your sound is – not who you want to replicate – is a huge part of what gives some rappers a sense of possibility and a chance at longevity.
Chris B has a lot of these qualities down on this release, but honestly a longer project will make or break the next steps in the journey – the subject matter here works well, there’s plenty being said, the lyricism is interesting and unapologetically honest; hopefully there are plenty more stories to come. The personal touch lets the music connect, and the professional soundscape offers an arena within which that connection can bring as much value as possible.