It’s hard to make indulgence work in contemporary hip-hop for a lot of different reasons, but the most prominent among them has got to be the interest in minimalist themes right now. People seem to crave a cut and dry beat far more than they do anything saturated in melodic excess, but on occasion, there have been artists throughout history that have been able to navigate around trends while setting a few on their own – and Flau’jae is hoping to be one of these players. With her new single “I Can’t Break,” this rapper dabbles in melody and sonic might with the results sounding quite decadent to say the least.
The vocal element here is pretty clean in comparison to the dirty bassline on the bottom half of the mix, but this definitely does a lot to emphasize just how slick a delivery Flau’jae is able to break off when she has the right arrangement in front of her. There’s definitely a degree of separation between the bassline and the drums that adds to the pressure she straddles at the mic, but there’s never an instance where it sounds like she’s competing for the lion’s share of the spotlight; in all honesty, her voice has it from beginning to end here.
This staggered beat does a lot to add to the overall tension in the music, and one could even make the argument that it puts an exclamation point on some of the more emotional statements Flau’jae is trying to make with her lyrics. She’s got a dexterity to her expressiveness that is not at all common in hip-hop or anywhere else in pop music at the moment, and this is the right kind of composition to showcase her talents without sacrificing any tonality on the other end (which is an all too typical tradeoff in this genre these days).
The music video for “I Can’t Break” is more than an additional look at who this artist is – it’s an introduction to someone who looks and plays like a mainstream player rather than someone trying to make a name for themselves in an increasingly talented American underground. She’s got a lot of passion when she approaches the microphone in this performance, but beyond this, there’s something organically endearing about Flau’jae’s command of a lyric, and it’s made me very curious to not only hear what her next single is going to sound like but any future LPs she produces as well.