Modern hip-hop celebrates hybridity far more than it does purity, and if you’re not quite sure what I mean, just take a look at the buzz rappers Shaheed and DJ Supreme have been attracting this season. SADJS’s star single “World of Water,” and its accompanying music video sport a crossover trap sound that is debatably more indebted to the experimental sounds of the mid-2000s underground than it is anything on the cutting edge of pop today, but the retro vibes are entirely deliberate. The way this player utilizes them, there’s scarcely a moment in which we don’t feel like we’re living in the moment with their lyricism, and through their epic delivery, we’re constantly made to experience the urgency of their emotionality without it sounding like an overindulgent performance.
One of my favorite things about Shaheed and DJ Supreme as a pair is that they don’t lean on the beat when it comes to hammering out a line – truth be told, I think their vocals are responsible for crafting the groove in this track a little more than the drums or the bassline are. They’ve got such a formidable presence behind the mic that it would have sounded downright excessive to put any more of a backend into this mix; they want to bring us a narrative through so much more than verses alone, but rather than relying on the filler that a lot of their peers would, they’re sticking to the cut and dry and developing a more surreal sound as a result.
This bass is never a buffer between the percussion and the vocal, but instead a melody-defining component of the hook that feels the most conventionally trap on paper. Scarcely does it ever sound as though SADJS isn’t owning the verse over the instrumental elements they’re straddling, and where some might have been quick to present a more humble chorus against this type of a beat, I admire their adventurousness in this performance. I don’t get the impression that this is a duo who isn’t comfortable going after something a little more ambitious than what their competition is, but instead, someone who wants to get as much out of a simple structure as they can, which they masterfully do in “World of Water.”
Those who appreciate the brighter side of modern rap and trap music need to look out for more from this talented pair of players in the very near future, as I think Shaheed and DJ Supreme are sitting on a winning formula in this single I’d like to see them carry forth in additional releases. The remix potential is undeniable, but as it stands in its standard, non-radio edited version, I believe “World of Water” is a good depiction of what this twosome can do when they’re just being themselves rather than trying to be more provocative than the artists they share a scene with. This is a compelling moment in history for hip-hop as a genre, and indie rappers like SADJS are the reason why.
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