A mysterious internet presence and a spectral musical entity, JHOST is an artist whose meandering, rainy day raps are uniquely sombre.
The latest sign of the rapper’s abilities on the mic comes in the form of the Where is JHOST?!? EP. His voice dry and devoid of life, the titular artist’s delivery is soft on the ears but heavy on the soul. The intent with this three track project was to deliver ‘something authentic’, and if these songs are a genuine example of JHOST’s mental state then they have truly achieved that purpose. Like the titans of self-deprecating rap that came before him (Earl, Mike, Lucki), JHOST is largely a limitlessly engaging mic presence and a bleakly pessimistic lyricist. His beat choices are impeccable too, vervent and morose in equal measure. Overall it’s one of the best five minute listening experiences that you’ll have this year, its gritty aesthetic matching its incredibly raw, unfiltered sound.
Although this sound has been the artist’s most interesting musical metamorphosis to date, the series of singles that he released over the last nine months have been equally enjoyable. ‘Trigger Happy Havoc’ sees the rapper team up with associate Ground Xro for an explosive trap cut, the duo ride the beat slowly and methodically with gathering intensity. Based on this track and a number of others that he’s released within the nine month timeframe, it is clear that JHOST revels in collaborating with his collective Co$mic Clique. With credits across most of his work, the group’s membership is very much on display for anyone enjoying JHOST’s material. And yet, even though he frequently employs a collaborative sound in his music, at all times the rapper prioritises the perfection of song sound and structure over any unnecessary vocal additions. As such, the collaborations that do appear on his Soundcloud are not only short and punchy but also tasteful and ruthlessly effective.
Of his heavier, more uptempo material, ‘Good Times’ is likely to be remembered as his best. Despite clocking in at a mere minute and a half, this track somehow crams in three quality verses (including guest appearances from Dope Veins and YvngSmokey). Expertly produced, the track is perfectly crafted from the ground up and one of the most successful examples of a truly DIY rap ethic that I’ve heard in the scene as of late. However, it is crucial to remember that JHOST’s solo work more than speaks for itself, and that he can easily construct a memorable trap anthem when working solo. Indeed, the frosty, Pariah-produced ‘Demons’ is more than ample evidence of this. JHOST’s frequent collaborations with Co$mic producers such as Pariah demonstrates his dedication to building a cohesive yet sonically diverse discography, as well as to building upon existing chemistry with certain members of the collective.
– Chris (@108mics)