Jxhar Is Bringing Soul to Gen Z Rap

Much of the rap that has characterized Gen Z has been accented by xannys, face tattoos, and many Lils. Jxhar’s new album, Bad Days R Forever, sets out to change that narrative. The rising New York rapper infuses soul, notes of dance music, and contemporary R&B into an album that is as melancholy as it is hopeful.

The album opener, “Top of the World,” is a gospel-influenced midtempo in the vein of Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book. It’s the perfect song to introduce the album because, much like the album as a whole, the song shifts across genre lines defiantly and effortlessly. The song is motivational, but with notes of sadness in the beautifully sung hook, this track has a lot more depth than you think. Another standout track on the album, “Motions,” is an auditory experience that perfectly captures the perpetual anxiety around romance and relationships that seems to be a hallmark of Gen Z. “All Black,” a collaboration with Darion Harris, offers a nice change in tone; it’s a more classic trap-influenced rap song with a hilarious vocal sample (“twerk team!”) and an infectious beat. In terms of a defining song, I would argue that the dancehall-influenced “Go Stupid” may be the song of Bad Days R Forever. It’s not the best song in terms of lyricism (that would likely be heartbreaking “Save Us”), but it brilliantly showcases Jxhar’s ability to make a hit record. The song wouldn’t sound out of place between songs like “Unforgettable” or “One Dance,” but Jxhar’s cadence ensures that the song is still unique to him.

Bad Days R Forever is both the product of a musical world without genre borders, and an excellently crafted album of an artist with limitless potential.

Listen to Bad Days R Forever here.

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