Jxhn Crxw’s project H.I.M brings together three tracks that quickly and colorfully represent the artist’s approach to creativity and his influences throughout Hip Hop’s history. In reality, the three parts to this release flow through like one unstoppable single – separated into unpredictable sections. The beat varies, thus the mood underneath evolves a little as the collection progresses, that rap flow remains relentless though – seeing Crxw barely pause for breath as he performs his bars among these soundscapes.
Musically there’s a classic and slightly jazz-cafe vibe to much of the EP. The second part Is in particular sees a mildly calming, gentle ambiance support the rap work. Lyrically though, the second track connects brilliantly to what came before – you almost don’t notice the switch-over. This style is undoubtedly influenced by the alternative or somewhat less mainstream aspects of hip hop. Things get creative in an uninhibited manner, Jxhn Crxw performs – he doesn’t just read lyrics to you, nor does he improvise with meaningless ideas or no intention. On the contrary, there’s intention to all of this – despite the density of lyrics there doesn’t seem to be any filler at all, which is rare; and well worth appreciating.
The performance sees passion and confidence intertwine, delicacy and grit walk side by side, the tracks are given structure thanks to this careful arrangement. Malignant in particular showcases a clear sense of evolution – a piece with various sections and emotional meanderings that help captivate and create a thoughtful sense of space. There’s a definite contrast between this and the two recordings that came before.
It takes no time at all to make your way through this release, once you’re done though – it’s likely you’ll be skipping back to the start to try to grasp it all a little better. The opener Horror is loaded with ideas and bars that are clever and revealing and honest and dark – there’s plenty to connect with, as well as plenty that will likely go over your head the first time; helping give this style of hip hop an addictive and consistently appealing quality.
That skill and that intelligent way with story-telling is engrossing – Crxw’s love for the likes of Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler, The Creator appears in detectable glimpses, but for the most part you get something fresh and impressive in its own right here. Absolutely worth a run through or two. It’s a pleasure to discover thoughtful, creative, passionate and smart rap styles among such classic, entrancing beats.