17 Jun 2021

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James Loan - EP Review: The Loan To Society

10 Mar 2021 // A review by Ben Ruegg

James Loan is a new young Rap/Drill artist that at only age 16 has just released his EP, The Loan To Society. I commend this effort. The music video that is on YouTube for his song The Response certainly keeps to the look and feel of the style of Drill.

If you aren't familiar with Drill, well, neither was I until my music students started introducing it to me via the HP Boyz. Upon first listening to it, I was actually kind of taken aback by it. I wasn't quite sure exactly what this next generation of Hip-Hop/Rap/Trap was. By researching it even, as any music lover should, I came to understand that Drill is a style that originates from Chicago. It's dirty, grimy and apparently, based on truth. The lyrical content in that style tells it exactly as it is on the streets. The delivery is deadpan and the beats have a certain flow to them so when you add all these things together, you get this new style, Drill.

Now, there is no denying that the recording is well done. There are different vocal effects that only help the songs come more to life. The selection of beats that have been used as the canvas for each song has been well chosen. The opening track Save Me P.2 is an example of this. A wonderful vocal hook actually makes me believe this isn't Drill at all, rather something from the later stages of Eminem's career. The delivery is on par and there at times a sense of authenticity in the sound of the recording.

My only criticism here, and remember this is just my opinion, is that some of the lyrical content really doesn't work for me. One of my favourite characteristics of Rap and Hip-Hop is its real-life stories. Typically, this is to do with life on the streets and overcoming hardships. Of course, there are Rap artists that create a character and then write as if being in those shoes (Slim Shady, Dr Dre etc.), but Drill is a little different. Maybe James Loan is in fact acting out a character. Maybe, James Loan isn't writing Drill, but is coming up with a new style where he takes the characteristics of Drill but is creating a character, therefore, moving out of the Drill authenticity into something in between this aforementioned styles. Either way, there are lyrics here, especially in the chorus of The Response, that I found took away from the music. There is no denying that James Loan has skill. I cannot question that. His flow and lyrics have some clever moments in them, but overall, I felt on this EP, other than the first track, the other songs really didn't do anything for me.

Of course, this is my opinion and I want to stress that. If Drill is your style and you can tell James is just having a bit of a laugh, then sure, enjoy. Maybe I'm taking this far too seriously. But for me, there were moments that I found just went too far.

If anything, I want to see how James progresses and develops as a writer. I want to hear him Rap about his life and advice he could give others, discuss what has happened before in order to teach a new generation. After all, Hip-Hop and Rap have such an important role in the development of popular music due to their reach to both young and old that it's almost like each newcomer should be carrying the torch. Its influence is undeniable.

I definitely look forward to hearing new music from James and can absolutely see a lot of potential here. The video for The Response that accompanies the EP looks absolutely incredible. It is brilliantly shot and well thought out. If this is the sort of quality James is capable of, I absolutely look forward to seeing what is next.

Rating: ( 3 / 5 )

About James Loan

Fresh outta Auckland, New Zealand

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for James Loan


The Loan To Society
Year: 2020
Type: EP

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