Chicago’s Just Adam Surprises with Stellar, Must-Listen Project, 208
Evan Dale // Sep 5, 2018
For fans of the lyrically undeniable, for fans of the Chicago contemplative, for fans of grass-roots rapping, Just Adam’s new project, 208 is just traditional enough to draw to it the classicists. But don’t get it twisted, Just Adam and 208 are products of a complicated and diverse contemporary hip-hop soundscape. The artist, undoubtedly best described first as a firm and true lyricist, also wears the many hats necessary for a modern hip-hop creative. Just listening to 208, a project as informed by classic Chicago production and retro lyricism, as it is by modern rap-sung hybrids and electronic R&B collaborations, it’s impossible to put Just Adam into any boxes not self-crafted by his distinct sound.
And that’s from where our love for the project has stemmed.
Through the first three tracks of the project, Crib Bounce, 95 In Me, and Hang Time, Just Adam takes time flexing his penmanship and seamless delivery in the booth. In a growing hip-hop spectrum where lyricism has certainly taken a backseat to a more wholesome musical approach, it’s refreshing to listen to a rapper rap, and even more reminiscent and welcoming when they can drop a collection of vintage NBA references.
But, what artists like that have failed to do in the past is bridge the gap to the modern hip-hop scene where vocalism and harmony with production tend to take first priority. And that’s why, by the time the fourth track, Timeless comes around, it’s a revelation. Just Adam’s ability to switch up the mood altogether with a mellow soul hook overtop his signature flow is not only tasteful, but also the perfect bridge into 208’s interlude, Forever Home.
Forever Home, though only the project’s calming intermission, breaks down Just Adam’s ability to its foundation and builds upon it a lovable, bouncy house filled with bubbly electronica and understated vocals. Its inviting to say the least, but also inviting to the electronically-dominated production and mellow moods that close out the album.
Through the continuation of My Night, Lil Bro Big Bro, and Everything, Just Adam’s mature lyricism and impeccable storytelling ability make 208’s finale one worthy of an encore. The groovy electronic production continues to work its way through the tracks and does so overtop his established knack for doing it all and more with his vocals and his pen.
Honestly, 208 is the first we’ve heard from Just Adam, but it’s a project that has inspired a further dive into his canon’s past and a further want into the future of his and the greater Chicago scene’s continuously expanding hip-hop future.