Jaay Verano hits the scene with subtle passion and professionalism united as this debut EP emerges. Cleverly blending contemporary production qualities with equal parts confidence and uncertainty, Holding on Life’s Dreams is a short yet satisfying EP, which seeks to connect increasingly throughout its five-track playlist.
The first ting to strike is the upfront vocal clarity of the project. It’s refreshingly human from the offset, lyrically and performance-wise but also in terms of the clean production. Despite its clear creativity, the style feels contemporary; it manages to seem original whilst also decidedly relevant.
Joseph is the opener and starts things off on precisely the right foot. It’s an intro, so it’s brief, but this proves to be a quality of choice for Jaay Verano. Most of these songs are sub-two-minutes, and still they hit with impact and utilize the time-frame from start to finish.
Where Joseph starts things off with emotion, passion and intention, Feeny follows with a heavy bass-line and an anthem-like sense of confidence and unity. It offers character, minimalism alongside striking vocals and plenty of identity. There’s a hint of Kendrick’s Backseat Freestyle to the weight and carefree optimism of the track.
Green Light then redirects things towards the more melodic side of modern hip hop. Jaay holds onto a strong balance between simple poetry and personal story-telling. The production is as immersive as ever, allowing the meandering vocal structure and concept to work its magic with ease. Again, the contrast between rap and melody helps blur the lines between mainstream pop and alternative hip hop.
Having raised the energy of the room with the first three tracks, Jaay then offers up a deeply reflective, intimate and honest J Boogie. Melodically and rhythmically addictive from the start, the song lays bare a sense of vulnerability that allows listeners to further connect with the humanity of the writing – the individual behind the music. This kind of trait tends to be crucial when it comes to longevity.
Dungeon follows with even more of this honesty and integrity. Holding onto your dreams is no easy task, and despite the confidence shown earlier, these later songs lay bare the truth of the journey – that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.
The emotion and soul on this final track, the emotive sound design and the rising passion in the vocal, helps bring things to a powerful, addictive finish, which connects on a profound level for its mighty sense of longing and uncertainty. An absolute highlight from the entire project.
Catchy hooks, confident vocals, stylish production and an all-important dose of realism – Holding On Life’s Dreams inspires and entertains in a professional, likable way. It’s a brief introduction to an artist with clear intentions, and given the clarity and openness showcased, further projects are likely to seal the deal with ease.