Utilizing elements like tonality and an atmospheric melody isn’t a new idea in the hip-hop genre, but in the last few years – and particularly among independent artists like Elijah – it’s become a new standard of practice. Elijah’s new single “Raw” and its music video dabble in the surreal stylings of an increasingly trendy sound in rap today, but make no mistake about it; this track is hardly a carbon-copy of its contemporaries. Putting his own spin on an aesthetic becoming uniquely modern in every way that actually matters, this player puts out “Raw” at the best possible time this September.
The video for this single almost makes the song a little better than it already was, mostly by amplifying understated elements from within the lyricism into cinematic features aligned with the energy behind the beat. There’s a mysteriousness to the dark hue that washes over most every frame here, and it only plays into the presence Elijah already has whether he’s on the screen or pouring words through the stereo speakers and directly into our hearts. Multidimensionality is an underrated attribute in 2020’s postmodern culture, but it’s also what gives this artist his “it” factor without question.
We get just the right amount of bassline indulgence in “Raw” to feel like the best of both the ambient and smoky nightclub realms get representation in this stylish hybrid of influences. Elijah had to bring just a little bit of excess into the mix, if for no other reason than to balance out the dagger-like vocal he’s assaulting the percussive tones with, and while it might sound like a complex cocktail of layers, it’s relatively simple and streamlined when considering just how much everything really does run through him in this single. He has a vision, and it’s coming together before our eyes in his latest video.
Hip-hop fans with any level of sense this season really shouldn’t ignore what Elijah just cut in the studio, as “Raw” brings forth another angle of his music that makes it even more difficult to file his output under any kind of status quo branding. He’s rebelling against the parameters that both the mainstream and underground markets would just as soon use to impose their own will on the creativity of artists who keep genres like this one alive, and the spirit of his fight is what ultimately lends vitality to every word in “Raw.”
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