In the world of mainstream hip-hop nowadays, it’s hard to find an artist who’s truly unique and exceptional. More often than not, the rappers that have made it big in recent have been trap rappers, fusing the autotuned crooning of T-Pain with the proto-trap flavorings of Gucci Mane. Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, Future, and Desiigner are just a few examples. As a result, it’s pretty surprising when an underground voice manages to break through the plethora of trendy rappers and produce something that is fully trap influenced yet not only different but quality as well. And it just so happens that Jay Zuez is that necessary voice.
There are some songs on “Holy S#*T (Special Edition)” which completely harness Jay Zuez’s more eclectic rapping strengths. Specifically, these are the tracks that contain the features on the album, namely “Want it All ft Replay / Jay Zuez (Featuring #theREPLAYflu)”, “Reign ft 1st Class / Jay Zuez (Featuring iTz1stClass)”, and “Maybe ft Ellie / Jay Zuez (Featuring Ellie)”. The first feels more like a Future single featuring Jay Zuez, the second sounds like Young Thug with a sprinkle of Jay Zuez on the side, and the last is memorable for Ellie’s gorgeous interludes.
The sweet alternative and psychedelic deliveries on “Cerberus”, “Woah”, and “Iconic” forge some of the most delightfully infectious verses out there. In “Pressure” the energy and level of personality is through the roof. Jay Zuez sounds determined and hungry on each and every beat.
While the first half of “Holy S#*T (Special Edition)” has truly memorable tracks, it’s the second half that really displays Jay Zuez’s creativity and versatility. No doubt these songs are definitely some of Jay’s best work yet. To hear the Philadelphian rapper, engineer, and producer who now lives in Florida, meet expectations with nuanced bangers was great in itself, but to see him exceed those same expectations is incredible.
Taken individually, the quality of each track varies dramatically, but as a whole “Holy S#*T (Special Edition)” is mainly a joyride through the best that trap-induced hip-hop has to offer. It may be too leftfield at times, too straight-and-to-the-point at others, but no one can deny that this album is filled with thrills throughout.
“Holy S#*T (Special Edition)”, is a confident, measured play to the rapper’s strengths tempered by a subtle shift away from the machined brutalism of mainstream pop aesthetics, accomplishing a perspective that levels distance from the clichéd gangsta violence, without leaving it in total favor of vapid, radio-ready subject material.
Rap audiences often carry a tacit expectation for emcees to fall into one category or the other, Jay Zuez cleverly treads the borders of many styles, without ever falling into only one. He could be described as a modern rap chameleon.