Pounding grooves are getting harder and harder to find in the modern rap game, which is probably why the muscular beat in the new single “Wishing on a Star” from Bardastar feels so special this September. Stylized in a jarring, tempo-centric fashion that reminds me of the old school just enough to feel reasonably classic, “Wishing on a Star” has some serious throwback energy, but as far as the moxie its rapper is bringing to the studio with him goes, I don’t know that Bardastar could sound any more swaggering and on top of his artistry than he does here.
The bass guns after the verse in a manner that would leave a lot of players unable to follow up with a smart lyric, but that’s just not the case for my man at center stage in this mix. There’s a lot of pressure coming off of the bottom-end of the EQ, but between his stealthy control over the beats and the way he owns the lyrics both convincingly and with great performance depth, Bardastar seems comfortable in this type of setting. He reacts to the tough set-up pretty well, and I can imagine him going even harder in a live version of this song.
There’s a DMX influence over “Wishing on a Star” that’s hard for me to ignore, especially given the parameters of the verses Bardastar opens up with in this single, but I don’t know that he’s straight following the formula of his greatest forerunner. I’d even argue that the melodic sensibilities of the hook are a little more Ja Rule than they are DMX, just in that they feel more harmonious with the bassline that this vocalist is willing to allow in this track. He wants the friction, and considering how well it works for his sound, why wouldn’t he?
I don’t find the arrangement of the instruments here to be quite as old school as the actual delivery is, but instead owing something to the spacy hip-hop sounds of a superiorly cerebral generation of songwriters. There’s something really atmospheric about the underlying elements in this song, and if put into the right order for a remix, they could result in something more akin to a slow jam than what we’re ending up with in this rendition of the song. There are endless possibilities with this single, which isn’t true of most pop I listen to.
“Wishing on a Star” feels like a throwback in the best way a single can, but it’s also just as much an addition to the OG narrative as it is a tribute to the aesthetic. Bardastar is working with a lot of talent in this track, and with his attention to detail serving as the greatest compass guiding him in this career, I think we’re going to see a lot of continued growth on his end through the next few years. He’s got the right artistic notion behind the driving sound in “Wishing on a Star,” and I’m eager to hear what he does with it in his next big single.
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