Rice - 'New Jack'
Reviewed by Vai Thomas& Staff
In the world of artists and their intended audiences, there are essentially two categories. The first group consists of artists who create primarily for the masses or a specific target audience. Their focus is on delivering what the audience desires, with a strong emphasis on the present moment. The second category includes artists who create without a particular audience in mind. Instead, they prioritize self-expression and strive to push the boundaries of creativity. Their focus lies in critically analyzing their work and innovating, with a forward-looking perspective. It's worth noting that it's not advisable to pigeonhole the first group as "commercial artists" and the second as "rebels," as these labels can easily interchange depending on the circumstances. Rare, however, is the artist who excels at both forms at once and produces art that captivates both. One tremendous example is Grammy-nominated Rice, with his newest rap single, titled ‘New Jack’.
From Rice's latest project titled 'Love Shouldn't Cost A Thing,' the track 'New Jack' is presented in the key of D minor and encompasses all the essential elements of an exceptional rap song in terms of arrangement, theme, and vocal delivery. Rice delivers an impressive rap performance that strikes a balance between melody and rawness, achieved in part by using just three main vocal notes. The song's opening arrangement sets the stage for its greatness, starting with ukulele plucking harmonizing with the Native American flute, supported by a sub bass, and then seamlessly blending with the 808 elements as the vocals kick in. In this rap song, like in all rap music, the lyrics and the underlying philosophy take center stage. Rice's message revolves around self-acceptance, irrespective of others' opinions. He leads the song with a mix of impactful and metaphorical lyrics, ranging from lines like "I was at the bottom of the barrel, I couldn't look in the mirror" to "How to make moves that change the picture, put some words so the money come quicker." The message is crystal clear: to progress by focusing on one's strengths an not on how others see us or our possessions. Rice's delivery, characterized by his wholesome tone, precise diction even during fast-paced sections, and the harmonies in the chorus, further reinforce this theme. The flute's harmonious interplay with the consistently plucked guitar beneath the vocals during the verse creates a hauntingly enchanting atmosphere, amplifying the overall cool and confident vibe of the song. Credit is due to the exceptional mixing of both the instrumental and vocal elements. Despite the deliberate use of only a few elements, the song benefits greatly from this approach. Each element has its moment to shine while complementing the presence of the others, resulting in a remarkable blend of intelligence and emotion in the song. At a duration of one minute and thirty six seconds, "New Jack" is one heck of a crowd puller and accolade-magnet thanks to the rendition of its lyrical themes and arrangement that is at once relatable as well as futuristic. This is art that is beyond capable of standing the test of time.
Jerard Rice is an emerging artist who has earned Grammy nominations and climbed the iTunes charts, showcasing his unwavering dedication to music production. This rising star brings versatility to the music industry and aims to make his music a beacon of hope and a symbol of guidance for those who may feel lost and in need of inspiration For more information on Rice, please visit his website.