Opening with the confident and characterful I’m Back, artist and rapper Jude’s latest album Inner Light showcases a true sense of individuality, a passion for hiphop, lyricism, performance, and an unwavering dedication to faith.
Musically speaking the variation throughout this project is huge. The change from the opener to track two Mindset is enough to suggest the vast ocean of influence and creativity that will follow. As the jazz-piano driven piece unfolds, the artist’s leading voice has a more mellow, reflective sound sound to it now, and this works beautifully alongside the subject matter and depth of the lyrics. It’s a powerful song, and following the high energy and intensity of the opener it’s a clever example of how album arrangement, when done effectively, can really increase the strength of certain moments. Contrast is invaluable.
Heart Of a Lion switches the intensity and energy back to full throttle. The vocal effects and the strings fused with that beat all make for something hugely passionate and motivational. The concept and the performance are inspiring and infuse energy in listeners, influencing action, suggesting positive change and personal ability to be the best you can be. Following this, the title track of the project offers something completely unexpected. The music that pours out at this point is so dreamlike and electronically pop that it really underlines the fact that Jude has a message, an immense imagination, and an undeniable ocean of creativity. This particular track has an infectious and memorable hook that comes through as something of a summer anthem.
The Fill Me interlude reintroduces that opening character declaration and brings the intensity back to remind audiences of the inherent passion for hip hop that runs through the veins of this album. The storytelling here is unappologetically honest and this adds a huge amount of value and realness. Then you get the beautifully beach-like vibes of Be Ok, a song that presents a ukulele and a fresh batch of positivity – it really hits with brightness and joy at this point within the collection.
Lyrically there are some real moments of power, often within single lines; single snippets of ideas that make you stop and think. Find My Way feat. Pierre Lott & The Duncans is a strong example of this in full supply. The song has the feeling of being a somewhat epic offering; the sound of a journey, through struggle, through difficulty, and the energy of overcoming – hopefully inspiring its audience to believe in themselves and to, similarly, find their own way.
Growth is incredibly different again in both substance and musicality. The sound is a little reminiscent of the earlier storytelling days of Eminem’s music, though the approach of content is the exact opposite many ways. There’s a darkness to the lyrics, a certain truth, yet the music maintains that uplifting energy of the preceding track. This fusion is captivating, the song has you following every line and every word with intense concentration. Following this, No Body Feat. Shooz offers a classic funk-rap soundscape that comes through as fairly minimal and contrastingly artistic in comparison to the tracks surrounding it. As the music progresses, the energy is beautiful, the music gives off an inspiring feeling of possibility and happiness and it all makes for an enjoyable moment of escapism.
Things take a turn for the further depths of darkness at this point. On Me has the haunting simplicity of a classic hiphop track from the earlier days of the genre. The leading riff is repetitive and memorable and lays the foundation for the artist’s hugely passionate and enthusiastic vocal performance, one which, not for the first time, features a fast and furious flow.
Know Me brings the blue skies back to the scene a little. The instrumentation is beautifully ambient here, there’s a pop feel to the song again; the vocal effect, the sense of character, the optimism. There’s no shortage of hope and inspiration in this collection. An underlying sense that things will be OK, things can get better, and if you put your mind to it you can be anything you want to be. The final song of the album Black Star takes all of this and more and closes things down in a powerful and unforgettable manner.
To listen in full is to really get the entire artistic presence of the artist and this string of ideas and experiences. However, if you were to pick any track from the album, the resulting effect is likely to leave you wanting more. Well worth a listen.