The era of just rapping seems like it has officially come to a close. These days’ hip hop artists use their voices as an instrument to show emotion through displaying voice range through gruff singing in between a few bars. Drake started the trend when he first made his way onto the scene, with is style of rap-song being ridiculed by some for being too “soft”. Fast-forward to 2016 and the art of rap-song seems to be winning, with the lines between R&B and hip hop being blurred with the introduction of artists like Torey Lanez, Chance the Rapper, and Bryson Tiller. The infectiousness of the Tiller’s hip hop infused croon caused Malia Obama’s twerk-gate this summer at Lollapalooza, so it says something about just how popular this genre is getting.

Following in these footsteps is rising Chicago-based artist and Quality Control Records signee, Jayaire Woods. If you haven’t heard of the up and comer, then my guess is you soon will. Jayaire first made a splash with his emotional ballads “too long” and “2 shoes”, and now he has dropped the follow-up to his mixtape TREES4TOMORROW with FREETHEFALL. This project is completely free of features besides the track he has with tour mate and buzzworthy rapper Lil Yachty. The first track opened up with the Jordeaux produced futuristic-soul track “TBH”. On this intro track, it is evident that Jayaire knows exactly how to manipulate the melody and tones of his unique and catching delivery to perfectly ride the buttery beat.

PSA is the standout track on the album with emotional and honest lyrics that highlights Jayaire’s experience as a kid growing up in a suburb outside of Chicago. Lyrics like “I might buy a gun just to rap about it”, is a play on the falsified personas that a lot of present time rappers possess. VZN and Meez provide the production on FREETHEFALL, along with Jordeaux. Meez provides more of a quintessential trap beat on Nowadays, while VZN mixes it up with some neo-soul influenced productions that mash well with Jayaire’s bold delivery. The party track of the mixtape is definitely the Lil Yachty featured “Man of the Year.” When I found myself dabbing to it while listening, I knew the mission for this track had been accomplished. The bouncy synth that VZN produced and the extremely catchy hook make this one a formula for a viral hit.

FREETHEFALL is an emotional roller-coaster that speaks to the emo art-kid loners of color everywhere, the same way Kid Cudi did when he first came onto the scene. The ending track, “Tree”, is a hauntingly gorgeous ode to insecurities and dreams, which acts as an audible precursor to the fame that could occur from the buzz surrounding this mixtape.

Being a Chicago-native myself I can’t help, but want to see Jayaire Woods win. The rise of current Chicago-hero, Chance the Rapper, felt personal to every underground creative who has visions and a dream, and I believe Jayaire Woods has the talent and the tools to make his own mark in the industry. From the DIY hand-drawn cover of FREETHEFALL to the honesty and genuine tone of the lyrics, Jayaire is a refreshing addition to music that we could all use.

Rating: 7.5/10

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