Jay Prince is a Wide-Ranging Genius and WONDER is Proof
Evan Dale // Jan 25, 2019
Less than a year after the release of his acclaimed EP, CHERISH, Jay Prince returns with another project by the name WONDER. in accordance with the rest of his catalogue, the album is short – coming in at only seven tracks – but is strewn with vibrant high-fidelity displays that grant his musicality a different grip on its own direction without losing any innovative or individualistic qualities that have come to define his career. The project is exactly what fans want from their favorite artists: a natural progression that highlights some futurist experimentalism without ignoring what has made Jay Prince burgeoning music royalty in the first place. And it all comes into frame in the album’s opener, RUN IT DOWN. A 6-minute marathon track with a dualistic nature, it opens with a high-energy, anthemic Jay Prince chorus over expectedly mellow and crisp production, then slowly evolves into a lyrically prolific exhibition the likes of which these days only seem to be coming from the poetically dynamic rappers of London.
The rest of WONDER follows suit.
Spearheading the project with an intense leading single and video, BEAMLIGHT, its explosiveness drastically shifts the album’s direction, showing again a myriad of stylistic approaches that Jay Prince has uniquely mastered. That stylistic meandering is what comes to define WONDER the most. Though the entire project is underlined by Prince’s absurdly effortless ability to deliver first-class penmanship and poeticism, he is equally effortless in granting each track a completely different emotional feel.
The album’s titular track feels altogether poignantly romantic, evoking emotion and inspiring reminiscence on personal experiences with love and loss. It’s nothing new to Prince who has a highlight reel of romantically in-tact ballads, most notably CHERISH’s WITH U featuring fellow UK star, Mahalia.
LUV ME is a bouncy, clubby anthem of confidence and lifestyle that makes us believe Jay Prince is making the most of his position under the ever-brightening glow of international limelight. Akin to last year’s GLAM, it’ll probably be making appearances soon at the local discotheque.
Taking note from the high-energy, slow-moving choral delivery coming to be common practice in the realm of hip-hop bangers, Jay Prince turns down his pace a notch for FLOW, instead exhibiting his knack to make the most of his music even whilst not spitting relentless bars.
From there, Jay Prince again shocks the senses with an emotional change of direction that returns us not only to Earth, but to our most inner introspection. CLOSER is an honest, poetic tale of life – reality that even as a prolific rapper, life is tough, and a reminder that his road was anything but paved smooth if paved at all. Perhaps the most meaningful and lyrically well-written piece of the greater WONDER soundscape, CLOSER is the type of track that may receive less immediate attention and fandom, but like Lil Wayne’s poignant Katrina ballad, Tie My Hands or Too Much: Drake’s acclaimed collaboration with Sampha, there is a good chance that it comes to not only be a defining track on the album, but also one of the most important works of Jay Prince’s career.
Closing out the project on a bit of a high, Jay Prince delivers BLESSED NOW – one of the catchiest records of the year and, along with BEAMLIGHT, further proof that Jay Prince has no issue folding into the mesh of it all, an upbeat high-energy anthem.
In fact, Jay Prince seems to have no issue doing anything creatively. Without losing some sense of conformity and congruency, the London artist lives up to the title, displaying at a ridiculously broad scale that he is capable not only of delivering modern hip-hop in all of its forms and styles, but that he is capable of adding his unique brand to them all. WONDER is a defining moment for Jay Prince, for hip-hop, and for music in 2019.