Your EDM has been following rapper Jay Hunna for a few months now, since the release of his nostalgic video for the single “Good Ol’ Music.” The slick, funk-infused throwback style and Hunna’s rallying against mumble rap made a lot of listeners nostalgic for the days of Tupac, Biggie and Common. With other singles he released, however, Hunna also embraced modern trap style when it came to beats as well as some EDM-inspired synths, so it was anyone’s guess what kind of styles would be on the album from whence these singles came. Now that Better Days has finally been released, that question can be answered.
There is, indeed, a dearth of mumble rap on Better Days. In fact, Hunna’s diction on his lyrics is almost shockingly clear. No one listening to the album will feel the need to rewind or check the lyrics to know what he’s saying. Hunna has made it clear that this is on purpose not just because he’s a fan of mumble rap but because he has some clear political and social messages to get across. In his first single “Fuck the System,” for example, Hunna discusses the dangers of hip hop culture specifically and culture in general being homogenized by pop, misinformation and politics while pitting different factions against each other in order to keep people distracted from real social issues.
This idea of bucking trends or looking past what media is telling us is really a theme throughout the album, whether it’s expressly stated or not. Some of the more feel-good of fun tracks like “Good Ol’ Music” or “Another Level” still seem to be about independent thinking and following one’s own feelings rather than simply flossing wealth or talking about drugs. Others like “Struggle,” “Amazing” and “Land of the Free,” however, are just as clear and in-your-face about their political and social message as “Fuck the System.” Jay Hunna does not mince words and because of his clear elocution and percussive lyrical style, he doesn’t have to.
Musically, it’s a mixed bag of beat and genre styles on Better Days. There are a lot of fun trap patterns which will work well for EDM remixes, but also quite a bit of funk and soul similar to “Good Ol’ Music.” In fact, that funky 90s melodic style seems to be one of Hunna’s favorites as it’s probably the only musical constant throughout the album. It makes Hunna’s style stand out in the current climate once again where there is very little funk and groove used in the music of the popular trap rappers. There’s that message of following one’s own feelings and bucking trends again. It seems Hunna wants to drive this point home on every level that he can.
While definitely a hip hop album, Jay Hunna’s Better Days is likely to appeal to EDM audiences because of its melodic funk and groove stylings, prevalence of trap beats and message of unity and free-thinking ideas being spread through music and art. This album also has near limitless remix potential, so hopefully some DJs get a hold of it and start remixing soon.