It may not be the most common comparison, but Mother Earth and Hip-Hop are similar in quite a few ways. One of the most obvious ways as that no matter what else seems to happen to try to destroy it, it only continues to evolve, develop and move forward. That’s not to say it’s always breezy, I mean we did have both the Ice Age and a multi-platinum Vanilla Ice album so obviously there can be some mishaps. All-in-all though it seems both just keep going throughout everything else.
The growth of an artist in particular is always fun to watch as well. Such is the case of Jackson, Mississippi Femcee Yung Jewelz as her “Earth Day” project showcases growth in leaps and bounds. Sonically she tries to get out of her comfort zone on the 8-track EP, giving us more conceptually adept tracks and topics that weren’t to be found on her 2017 “Hipster Logic” EP. This was a goal for her though, as stated when asked about her primary focus going into crafting this project.
I wanted to create something different than my last project. I wanted to kind of show more of the cool versus the at you neck in your face feel. I felt like to know me through my music you have to feel me, and I have to show more than just one part of me. So I crafted the project around that and my vibe , I took a break from social media and found my peace & patience. – Young Jewelz
A brief monologue titled “Intro to Earth” sets the tone for Yung Jewelz new EP. On it we hear spoken word about how we were made from Mother Earth and how that is to be appreciated and used to our benefits as we grow, both metaphorically and physically, throughout life. Nice choice that captures the ear of the audience quickly.
It transitions into a personal favorite of mine in “Fck It”. This song is driven by production that is almost tropical in its sound, combining elements from Jessie Reyez’s track of the same name. With strong production to back Jewelz lets her hair down and tells some of her backstory while still managing to deliver some of the trademark flows that have helped to build her fan base. “Posted with the homies you say they looking all dangerous, not knowing that they got degrees, they entrepreneurs. You see them in that all black and get to locking yo’ doors. I’m just a product of my community I’m Shady Oaks-bred. Mississippi got good vibes I just happen to spread.” Lines like these help to showcase both her witty style and invite you into the type of upbringing with which Jewelz came up.
The more rugged and upfront sound of “Fck It” is contrasted well as we get the soulful composition that is “Maintain”. From the first words, “Dear God, I just wanna say thank you/ cause you ain’t have to do it but you did and I thank you”, you kind of get the feeling that a certain vibe is to envelope the song and it does. By the time Jewelz finishes her verse, focusing on overcoming the obstacles in front of her, SIKA brings her fervant aura in to take the song to another level with her hook. Josi Green adds a strong verse to match Jewelz flows on the track. The song isn’t as religious as the first line may suggest but it is one rooted in hope and a feeling of faith towards the future.
The album’s lead single and the one most poised for radio success is up next with “Higher”. Jewelz kicks it off with a verse that is as trademark to her sound as any of the tape. She just exudes a certain level of cool before passing things off to both members of Blk Crwn in Savvy and Dolla Black. Vitamin Cea makes her first of two appearances helping to assist on the hook duties here. This track is poised to be a pivotal one for Yung Jewelz in my own opinion as one of the standouts in her catalog. I would do all I could to get it in front of as many eyes and ears as possible if I were in her shoes.
The vibe of the tape shifts a bit for the preceding two records on “Earth Day” as we get to see a side not often seen in Yung Jewelz, one that focuses solely on being in love. First is “Muse” which pretty much acts as an open letter from The Paid Hipster to the apple of her eye. No hook is on the record and it really isn’t needed as she approaches the song with an urgency and directness not often seen on tracks that tackle the topic of love. “Ethereal” follows and is one that is more conceptual in its approach of talking about love. When asked which song was the hardest for Jewelz to write in a prior interview, she stated this was the one and listening to it it isn’t hard to understand why. “I did it piece by piece within a couple hours only because I wanted to make sure I had the essence of a strong black woman who I adore come to life.” I think she pulls off the intended goal well particularly with the last verse as it is such an honest depiction of feelings.
As we begin to reach the end of “Earth Day” one thing that is obvious is the range of tracks that Jewelz chose to include on the set. She showcases her versatility time and time again and in no way is it more clear than on “Little Buttafly”. Here she is joined by songstress Krystal Gem and again by Vitamin Cea for a tale that is directly related to all of the young black girls that are trying to grow into strong women throughout all of life’s troubles. The construction of the record is commendable, particularly as both Jewelz and Cea bounce flows back and forth to one another as if they are sharing the counsel of the young lady used as the track’s muse.
The EP’s bonus track “Get Some Money” is last and is jump started by a wonderful skit from your’s truly, Beamon! I was completely flawless and hilarious adding my touches to the project and it’s such an epic addition I won’t even bother ruining it for anyone who still may have not heard. My efforts to set the track up lead perfectly into the collaboration between Yung Jewelz and King Blammah. “Get Some Money” is clearly the most street-oriented song of the tape and is a nice touch on a project that see’s her stay away from that sound largely for the most part. Both rappers bring strong verses to match a simple, yet catchy hook that makes the track just one of the many with good replay value.
Overall “Earth Day” is an impressive project with very few flaws for those who are fans of rappers with the laid-back style of flow. While energy is a huge component of a lot of the new music coming out these days sometimes you just need someone with the charisma to draw your attention more so off of their style and smooth bars more so than the shock-factor, high-energy type of raps that are so prevalent these days.
Beyond just the charm her music can possess, “Earth Day” must be commended because of the growth put forth by Yung Jewelz. While “Hipster Logic” was a strong debut project from the rising talent it could be viewed as one dimensional in some ways. “Earth Day” exhibits a range from Jewelz that not everyone may have original thought she could reach with songs that will inspire, teach, uplift and be more relatable. I would certainly it to be one of the better indie projects I have heard this year and one that is recommendable to all.
Follow Yung Jewelz on social media at @thepaidhipster