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Flau’jae Releases “I Can’t Break”

Sometimes it seems like everyone in indie hip-hop is utilizing heavy melodies right now, but every once in a while there’s a player like Flau’jae who drops a single that makes everyone else’s technique sound just a little bit pedestrian. Where others are breaking harmonies just for the sake of a beat, Flau’jae wants to develop something a bit more stern in tone with her new single “I Can’t Break,” which is attracting the affections of critics around the country right now – and for good reason. Aside from the uplifting narrative, “I Can’t Break” is deftly composed and likely to break open a lot of doors for its creator.

She’s a lot less surreal than some of her most obvious influences are, but at the same time, I don’t think there is any getting away from the Dici-esque postmodernity in Flau’jae’s latest release. This is an artist who wants to bask in the glow of a hook as much as she wants to attack a lyric, and although there’s something to be said about subtlety, hers is one of the more direct and thoughtful lyrical concepts I’ve heard in a long time. She’s repping both herself and a style here, neither of which sound even the least bit recycled in tone.

For the most part, this track feels like it’s missing a key bass component a lot of hip-hop is built upon, and yet this doesn’t prevent our vocalist from developing a steady flow right out of the gate. She isn’t hesitant with her execution at all, but instead quite inclined towards the fluidity of the beat through nothing more than a hard drum’s presence in the backdrop. Her lack of reliance on melodic frills is exceptional, and perhaps the biggest reason to keep an eye on her future output.

Of the instrumental elements that are obvious and accessible to the audience from beginning to end here, the piano is the most stinging, and it’s the perfect complement to the rapping style Flau’jae is sporting closer to the latter half of the track. She gets a little looser as we progress, and never is there a moment where it sounds like she’s in over her head stylistically or linguistically – truthfully, this is some of the most natural-sounding work I’ve heard from an underground or mainstream player the same in the last few years.

There’s a lot for this artist to be proud of at the moment, but I do think it would be wise of her to think about going after the hook a little harder in her next single, if for no other reason than to show us how far she can push herself in the studio. She’s got a lot of natural charisma that isn’t separated from the artistry she’s showing off in “I Can’t Break,” and if allowed to mature just a bit more than it already has in this performance, Flau’jae’s profile is going to be one that a lot of her peers will be more than a little jealous of.

Mindy McCall



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