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Hassa’s debut single “Aajah”

A wave of sizzling-hot melodies comes oozing out of the stereo in real time upon pressing play on Hassa’s debut single “Aajah,” and in the next few moments that follow we’ll be welcomed into a heavenly harmony stronger than the force of a thousand winds. Even before the first appearance of a beat, the essence of a beguiling rhythm teases us in the background, suggesting that whatever the drums are about to dish out is even more powerful than we’re expecting it to be. This instrumental forecast quickly proves true as the percussion finds us and begins to unfurl a wicked groove before our very ears. Hassa has barely even spoken, and already he’s imparting a mood unto us through these melodies that is as telling as his words will be.

Hassa raps with a swing in his step, chasing after the beat with an eagerness that never quite develops into a rush. He’s meticulous in his structuring of the first couple of verses, but after he finds a comfortable spot in the rhythm he rides the groove straight into the epicenter of the track without a second thought. “Aajah” ebbs and flows a bit in its first minute and a half of play, but there’s scarcely a moment where the music sounds improvisational; every component here has got a very specific place in the arrangement, and Hassa takes care to provide us as consistent a stream of sonic intensity as one can from within the four walls of a studio.

The mix evens out the levels between the vocal and instrumentation as we get into the latter half of “Aajah,” but the spotlight remains fixed on the man of the hour alone. As we draw closer to the conclusion of the track, the dreamy synthetic elements grow larger and larger until the verses are but a speck in the rearview mirror, but this less than explosive ending doesn’t minimize the immense texture of the previous three minutes of play in the least. On the contrary, we’re brought full circle in this song and allowed to see just how far Hassa can take us inside of a single composition without stretching his talents too thin or making a beat that is accessible only to diehard audiophiles and club kids with an ear for the erudite.

If “Aajah” is just a taste of what Hassa has got in store for listeners in the months and years to come following this lauded debut performance, you can almost guarantee that this won’t be the last occasion on which he makes indie headlines with his spirited, multilayered songwriting style. I’ll have to hear a few more tracks to be certain of his skill, but I think that he’s got a lot of moxie in this single not being exploited for all it’s worth yet. Collaborations with other artists in his scene and a proper EP/LP within the next year will serve his exposure level exceptionally well, but for now “Aajah” stands as a great way of getting to know Hassa and his interesting brand of melodic hip-hop.

Mindy McCall

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