End of the Future
In a recent interview, Big Daddy Kane said he could tell he wouldn’t be relevant when he released his final full-length, because he rapped behind the beat and modern rappers rap in front of the beat. Twenty years later, MCs still consider this the contemporary form. That’s when rappers like Outkast began to prosper. Fellow ATL son, Jack Preston, is another one of those MCs. End of the Future, is rife with electro synths and ethereal beats. The album also invites and intersects many live instruments. Preston’s ideas and delivery flutter within the space of the speakers. His soulful voice is undeniably seductive.
The first three tracks are parallel to present radio rap, but higher quality. Preston is not sated by the simplicity of the modern approach. In these confines he begins to explore the boundaries of the minimalistic framework. Of the first three tracks, two are fun and exploratory, especially “On Occasion” with Alex Lee, playing the female protagonist. But for social impact, “Replay” is exceptional. The sound effects interplay with spacey tangents and an old school drum pad. Preston’s lyrics are provocative and intelligent as he examines how he fits in the hip hop world and society.
“Off the Ground” is where the album truly elevates, for me. A live bass (Sean Stillenger), trumpet (Born Foster), and sax (Frank Houston) and silky vocal (Micah Woods) push this to a catchy tune that leaves an imprint. It makes you feel good while thinking; could be for cocktails in the lounge or for a ride in the whip. Jon Bom from the Bay Area definitely lends what must be his upbringing, a there is a West Coast feel threaded throughout the album. Lush landscapes to party vibes supply atmosphere, while never compromising the subject matter.
“Hit ‘Em” and “The Ness” are excitable joints that showcase the albums best qualities. “Hit ‘Em” lets Preston loose on the mic with no apology. Bragging on his crew’s skills over a swirling trumpet and bubbling keys and turntables, Preston focuses on lyricism. Proving they got bars, Preston and blctxt and Sa-Roc comply to just dope spitting that gets your head nodding. “The Ness” is an introspective, space tinted adventure. Low key and misty, Preston reflects on cathartic processes and edification. His flow and Southern charisma aids in the confidence building of a gifted preacher.
“As I lay mortar for these recorders strength in the foundation/ of sound facing/ out the speakers, it’s a daily occupation/ facing life distractions/ with actions/ of real passion/ sudden events can have my psyche in a backspin”
Continuing the humility and maturity that is often missing from hip hop, “Day By Day” showcases the mission statement of Preston.
“build with construction of better us’s – make sure that our families estates are in better trust/
the hustle for money’s cool, but I’d rather my spit is for justice/ bust for something of more meaning than some cash and some lust”
The track has a playful, almost lullaby piano pattern. The placid vibe is like being woken by a lover gently on a sunny Sunday. It’s a sermon to those who have the patience and desire to get through the present for a better future.
RIYL: Outkast, Common, Digable Planets, Slum Village, Pharcyde, Mos Def, Q-Tip, Murs