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“It Is” by Beeware

The hip-hop movement in 2021 is following a minimalist trend we’re hearing more and more of in contemporary pop of all varieties, but in the case of a song like Beeware’s “It Is,” the aesthetic feels properly utilized. Though there’s a lot of interest in chamber-style influences that encompass atmospheric pop songcraft and trap at the same time, “It Is” doesn’t fall under the same umbrella of surreal compositions we’ve been hearing across the American underground this year. Beeware brings Angel-A in for a glowing collaboration in this piece, and despite differences in their styles they really create something wholly cohesive from start to finish, which isn’t true of every experimental outing nowadays. 

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This groove doesn’t structure the verses as much as the bassline-born harmony does, and although it’s a little more avant-garde than what I’d normally go for as a critic, there’s something very stirring about the end result in “It Is.” Melodically speaking, this is probably one of the lushest hip-hop tracks I’ve listened to out of Beeware’s scene in 2021, if not the last couple of years in total, and through an absence of instrumental textures, we’re getting to hear how dynamic a player this rapper is when he’s on top of his game. 

The bassline is thick as can be, but its rigidity doesn’t define the cadence of Beeware’s delivery. He’s riding its rhythm unquestionably, but there’s also a lot to be said about the moxie he’s got in his execution no matter what kind of a backdrop he’s working with. Taking a peek at his discography will school anyone in how adept he’s becoming, and this single is undoubtedly not the last time we’re going to be left talking about his skillset in one capacity or another. Talent like his, simply put, can’t be taught in school. 

“It Is” rocks a slow tempo that creates a mood all by itself, and I don’t think that the pacing of instruments does anything but facilitate more of a moodiness in the track than what we already would have been hearing at a faster beat. Beeware really wants us to feel what he’s feeling rather than simply acknowledging the linguistics he’s putting forth ahead of a groove, and from the looks of his work here, I would have to say that he’s doing everything he can to exploit both the studio and the compositional canvas atop which he’s illustrating so beautifully.

I completely understand the affection “It Is” is getting from critics across the underground right now, and if you’re confused about the hype I would recommend giving the music video for this song a close look before the holiday season has come to a close. Beeware and Angel-A team up for one of the best melodic exchanges indie hip-hop has enjoyed in the latter half of this year here, and whether you’re big about the genre’s swelling alternative culture or not, this is a track you really have no business missing if you call yourself a rap fan of exceptional taste. 

Mindy McCall

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