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JTK’s latest release “No Be Mouth (feat. Tunji)”

Making original hip-hop that can appeal to the masses hasn’t been easy in a long time, but that isn’t stopping players like JTK from giving the mic everything they can in new material. JTK’s latest release, the minimalist “No Be Mouth (feat. Tunji),” borrows from the surreal pop movement while incorporating a heady dose of Future-style verses that amalgamate to create something mildly melodic and totally brutish in spirit. “No Be Mouth” might not break the mold when it comes to issuing a smooth, lyric-driven epic, but with regards to its aesthetical design, it’s as fresh a look as anyone could have asked for this summer.

I really like the contrast between the vocal tone and the bassline, and I definitely wasn’t expecting the latter to be lighter than the former in the mix here at all. By using the rapping to create a tension that the bass parts fight against for the entirety of the track, JTK is able to use so much space that other artists would just as soon have left alone. He’s able to squeeze just a little more magic out of his music than what some of his contemporaries would have been able to, and that alone makes this one of the more interesting listens out this month.

The beat here is pretty intimidating in size and strength right from the jump, and though it’s a tad louder than it actually needed to be, I think I can appreciate what JTK was trying to accomplish by giving it so much room to breathe. If you’re going to get a crowd synced up to this rhythm, you need to put a lot of extra gas on the drums to complement the thrust of the bass, and in doing what he did, JTK makes it awfully difficult to turn up “No Be Mouth” without wanting to move our hips.

Despite the alternative construction of the hook in this single, there’s nothing about the melodic components of “No Be Mouth” that sounds overambitious, nor so intense that it’s too much for our leading man to handle. He’s got a lot of confidence that slips into his lyrics and, subsequently, the groove-laden harmonies that carry them through the speakers, and none of it sounds inauthentic. JTK is a songwriter who doesn’t want to overstep his creative limitations; he’s still growing into this sound, and his refusal to dispense something subpar in the name of making a quick buck can be attributed to his artistic maturity.

There’s still a lot of potential that JTK will have the opportunity to tap into with the release of his next single, but for now, I think it goes without saying that he’s off to the perfect start with material like “No Be Mouth” in his discography. He’s definitely not the lone rapper of note coming out of the left side of Canadian music this year, but in terms of radio-ready professionalism, his sound seems about as prepped and highbrow as it needs to be to make an impact on North American audiences right out of the box.

Mindy McCall

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