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Self-Evolution and Self-Realization, Jang The Goon is Soundtracking the Summer and the Mosh Pit through ‘GooN SHii VoL. 1’

Evan Dale // June 23, 2024

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FKA Jango, the PNW’s Jang The Goon packs a punch that requires no further acronymic detailing. Vicious energy discharges from his high-octane delivery, spurred by addicting hooks, and expanded on by understated lyrical depth. Even when he’s pouring all his sweat-drenched intensity into his chorus or equally into a live performance with the kind of verve only JPEGMAFIA could muster, he’s saying something at the same time. And with his debut project, GooN SHii VoL. 1, his statement is grandiose.

The project ‘contains [his] truth, [his] anger & [his] reality.’ And in reality, after two years of rebranding his creative identity, he’s come out on the other side of personal strife, massive life changes, and artistic flux with a swatch of self-expression that feels custom fit to the purest of his artistic nuance. It’s a nuance of intensity, framing the grunge roots of his regionality alongside a concentration on Spokane-specific vanity, all while bleeding of the ups, downs, and deviations he's been dealt since his hiatus began in 2022.

‘They thought I would really lose my touch, my grasp on reality with losing my father and with having a child,’ he told his local rag, The Inlanderearlier in the month. ‘Like I went quiet for six months when my father passed, but I buried myself into the music, I buried myself in my truths, I buried myself around loved ones…. Now I have a reason why, more than ever. I feel like I have something to prove — not to folks — but to myself.’

For 16 minutes – across eight tracks – Jang The Goon proves his artistic intensity with the kind of furious braggadocio that marks a small-market rapper with a no-holds-bar will to not only prove his own strength, but to pull his city up with him. And after a back-to-back brace of headlining shows in Spokane to stamp the project’s release, it’s clear that his city is along for the ride.

We are too. To be frank, GooN SHii VoL. 1 hits harder than just about anything else the hip-hop landscape has delivered in recent memory. Give me your favorite rapper’s so-called Summer banger, and I’ll raise you a HeaD HoNCHo. The track – though only 2 minutes – is simultaneously the most audacious heater from any artist this year, while also thriving as a work of complex rap composition. An anticipatory intro, underlined by a manipulated sample of Memphis Horrorcore architect, Lil Noid’s Break Ya Self, detonates into the layered dynamism of a trunk-rattling beat and an addicting hook propelled into existence by Jang The Goon’s newly minted signature, before folding in some hard-nosed poeticism rooted in his continued adherence to creating as the truest version of himself.

‘Back on my bullshit / Independent — I ain't looking for validation, n----s thought I would lose it. I ain't worried, I've been stocking on ammunition.’

And that truth means that he aims to transcend any preconceived notions of rap at large.

‘I don't necessarily consider myself a rapper, I consider myself more of like a Black rock star,’ he continued with The Inlander. ‘I consider my music more like alternative hip-hop with an essence of punk, you dig? So it was important to me that that was represented all throughout the project. I wanted rock bands to be able to listen to this project and like it. I wanted to be able to touch a demographic that I feel like hip-hop in this city never touches.’

He certainly achieves that. Like HeaD HoNCHo, the remainder of GooN SHii VoL. 1 pushes forward with breakneck pace, cast into the Summerscape to soundtrack mosh pits and sew together listening demographics alike. Like Denzel Curry’s cover of Rage Against The Machine, the underlying grunge of Jang The Goon’s new wave is tethered more to its energies than it is to its stylistic definitions, or any precocnepotions the ether has about artistry at large. Cuts like RooF oN FiRe and RaGeRs oNLY tap into a such curated and high-voltage angst that, were their hooks not bookending such merciless penmanship, guitar solos and screams could have just as easily filled the void.

What Jang The Goon is doing is nothing short of unique and necessary. Unapologetically creating from within, he’s crafting something entirely new that speaks to so many varied audiences, and putting Spokane on the map in the process.

‘I’m giving you everything, except my pain and sadness, which I plan to share on another project very soon…’

Keep an eye out for more.

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