Lately, it’s been so much of the same in mainstream hip-hop – fast rhymes and trap beats, usually manipulated into some faux-melodic surreal backdrop that only serves to benefit very specific artists (and almost no one else). One player who isn’t interested in capping their creativity at the status quo is Triple Island, and if you need some proof, their new single “Flatbush Jungle” should do the trick. Rather than giving us more of the typical tones and tempo we’ve all heard a million times from a million different rap syndicates around the world, Triple Island is out for something a little more colorful here, not to mention a lot more enticing.
The clandestine lead vocal in “Flatbush Jungle” is one of the primary elements building up the tension in the mix, and I love that it doesn’t need to be overstated to have this effect. On the contrary, I think that by going minimalist with this aspect of the track, it leaves a lot of space on the backend where a fat bassline would normally rest. There’s no need for indulgent bottom-end tonalities or oversized grooves in this single; Triple Island’s voice is all we need to find a sensuous rhythm in this song.
With the vocal pushing the beat, the percussion is able to get funky in a manner that just wouldn’t be possible with another arrangement. The drums are volatile, pushy, and even a little neurotic as Triple Island hits the curves in their verse, and they command the rhythm of the music like a masterful conductor put before a symphony orchestra. He’s got a gift for managing the studio environment, and if there was ever any debate about this before “Flatbush Jungle,” I think it’s going to be universally known – and respected – in the wake of its release.
There’s undeniably a bounce influence in this song that’s hard to ignore no matter what lens you’re breaking down the aesthetics from, and personally, I think this is one area where the edginess Triple Island brings to the table puts them ahead of the competition by leaps and bounds. Their narrative here is multi-interpretive, and their sonic depth is curated by experimentation, and if they can maintain the same anti-formulaic approach to songwriting and performing through the rest of their career, it will be difficult to keep their sound contained within the underground and away from the hungry hearts of mainstream audiences.
“Flatbush Jungle” is a surprisingly addictive pop single that perfectly melds the best of the old and new schools in hip-hop, bounce, dancehall, and even crossover funk, all without sounding like just another hybrid in an era increasingly dominated by impurity. Triple Island doesn’t care about what the traditional recipe for success looks like – they’ve got their own vibe going in “Flatbush Jungle,” and between the swagger they have behind the microphone and the magic they produce when connecting with the groove of the instruments here, it’s absolutely an infectious vibe to say the very least.
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