Jordan Schwab is an emerging hip-hop recording artist coming out of Columbus, Ohio. 2021, has seen the creative drop a series of projects, including his “Sidetracks Vol 1” mixtape and the 11 track album “The Star”. The latter release confronts the emotional experiences wedging between him, his grind, his relationships, and the world. How he navigates his way across them, towards shining in his own light. Across the album, Jordan’s deft flows and laser sharp deliveries explore both his emotive and existential hindrances and gratifications, through all its evolutions, until he finally finds his liberating sweet-spot in the closing track “New Beginning”. Although brief, the project is a welcome reminder of the rapper’s sprawling capabilities, as both a songwriter and a performer.
“The Star” is an immersive conceptual-styled piece that proves Jordan Schwab wordsmithing. He is a soulful, innovative rapper who explores lyrically profound landscapes. Beat selection is also a key weapon in Jordan’s arsenal, as each production piece on the album is a perfect match for the narrative, adding to its atmosphere and mood. They are also perfectly suited to Jordan’s shifting lyrical styles. As a whole, the album lands somewhere between concept piece and artistic exhibition, balancing an array of the rapper’s styles.
While navigating the subjective and objective distances in his life, Jordan Schwab explores and refines the techniques that were first found on his previous material. Opening the album with “Let Gotro”, Jordan lays down the gauntlet with a retro, cinematic-styled big-band orchestration. The throb of “Raincheck” instantly puts the rapper in the driver’s seat, as he unfolds his smooth flow with a slight melodic twist. The first high point arrives in the form of the title track, “The Star”, where Jordan’s quick wordplay comes to the fore.
Jordan Schwab’s songwriting and eye for mood-building are as robust as ever on this album, molding together a personal tale of someone striving for a carefree lifestyle in the face of impending complexities. This vibe comes through brilliantly on the chill backdrop of “Simple Man”. Jordan is also master at nuance and layered subtext. “Really Feel” marries together the foundations of a vintage soul-funk record, with haunting cutting-edge rap modernity.
“Message From The Stars” turns up the album’s danceability quotient, as it rides on a handclapping electro-beat, and sweet airy vocals from Allie Jones. Jangling guitars, shimmering keys and a slapping drumbeat, introduces the slow-burn of “Drop The Ball”. It’s the kind of languid and hazy beat that invites a dreamy delivery from Jordan Schwab. “Oh baby if you need me, just give me a call,” intimates Jordan. His tone, effortless and confident.
Jordan extends his singing reach on the pop-punkish “Ifhy”, showcasing yet another side of his talents, before once again flipping the sonic template on the tempo-changing “Better Than U”. That Jordan utilizes his voice as his greatest weapon, is blatantly clear on “Been So Long”. Here he goes into full harmony mode, a rare and unusual vocal experience on a rap album. The choruses are luxuriously rich with melody and multiple layered voices.
As mentioned previously, the album closes with Jordan Schwab’s fresh start on “New Beginning” as he liberates himself from life and love’s strangling toxins. Jordan’s creative evolution seems to coincide with his personal one, as the rapper hones his persona with more gravity, coming to terms with the idea that self-awareness can be difficult to navigate but makes him a better, happier person in the end. This album not only shows the latest version of a highly skilled lyricist and performing artist, but the personal journey it takes to get there.