With a disturbingly chilling string of melodies that greets us shortly after pressing the play button, Pastor Jamaal’s “Different” comes creeping out of the shadows with a grimacing groove that will only get stronger as we listen on. In the video for “Different,” vices are everywhere we look, as is the surreal sense of self-discovery (as seen through an incredibly cerebral lens, mind you), but that’s where the excess ends in this release. Pastor Jamaal is offering an all-meat, no-filler hip-hop anthem in this four minute juggernaut, and it’s one that I’ve yet to put down since hearing it just this past weekend.
The bass is a bulging force to be reckoned with in this mix, but its role isn’t restricted to masculinity innuendo exclusively. The bassline frames the lyrics exquisitely, buffering our leading man and the percussive grit coming at him from the rear just enough for us to divide our attention between the two elements without feeling scattered. “Different” lives up to its title from a compositional perspective, and although it has some commonalities to the concept behind its video, I wouldn’t call any part of this release even slightly recycled or unoriginal in any way.
Pastor Jamaal’s fury doesn’t come pouring through the speakers until after we cross the two-minute mark here, but I really like the disciplined fashion in which he controls the mood of the music with his voice. He’s so sharp with his words, but there’s never any need for him to get super aggressive with his delivery – this is almost solely because of how carefully he’s timing his execution with the swing of the beat in the background. This is the kind of gift you can’t buy in the store no matter how much money you’ve got; well-practiced or not, Pastor Jamaal has raw, natural talent that is making him shine in this single.
“Different” definitely has a lot more of a punch than anything I’ve listened to in mainstream hip-hop lately, and if you’re the type of rap fan who requires overproof beats every now and again, this is the track you need to be listening to this summer. Pastor Jamaal is checking off all the right boxes in his quest to take a unique brand of southern rap into the mainstream, and with the muscle he’s flexing here, I doubt I’m going to be the lone music journalist who takes notice.