Boomkat Product Review:
Jersey-born beatmaker JWords teams up with Brooklyn rapper maassai on "ve·loc·i·ty", a confident DIY back-n-forth that stirs Jersey club and neo-boom bap flavors into a formidable, coherent narrative that's socially motivated, tripped-out and heavy as hell.
Within a few seconds of opening track 'antisocial', it's immediately clear that the rapper-producer duo have a special relationship. Jwords' focused, experimental beats provide a sandbox for maassai's flexible free-associations, and while the tracks peer fondly at Brooklyn's hip-hop history, there's always a sense that H31R are ushering us into a new era. So when a dusty, cinematic phrase loops into view on 'precious silence', it might at first point to Brooklyn OGs Mobb Deep or more recently Ka, but the track quickly mutates into an angular club banger, guided by maassai's unique, throaty rhymes.
H31R's skill is in maintaining a balance between the sample heavy rawness of boom bap and the nebulous, genre-fluxing futurism of New York City and nearby Jersey's headline-catching club pep. Thankfully, maassai's voice is the constant throughout, and she links JWords' genre-agnostic beat experiments with an ease that suggests a keen ear. Whether talking about creative freedom on the low 'n slow 'whatweleftwith' or rhyming over hard-hitting house on 'big luv' and edgy, overdriven dnb on 'heavy on my crown', she sounds completely in her element.