Jay October


Since stumbling upon Jay October late last year, we’ve been waiting patiently (read: eagerly) to see what the young Santa Barbara emcee would do next. Late last month, we got our answer in the form of Even, a sprawling 19-track mixtape that nicely sets Jay up as S.B.’s newest hip-hop ambassador. True to his previous outputs, Even is brimming with the kind of smooth flows one would expect to come out of the 805. Songs vacillate between lovey-dovey piano jams (“Seven”), chilled-out odes to getting high (“Blow Away”), and spitfire personal anthems (“G.O.D.(King Kong)”), yet the vibe that runs throughout Even is, fittingly, pretty even-keeled. On “Runaway Girl” he’s weaving inspirational rhymes about self-empowerment. One track later, he’s spitting kiss-off lines over a whip-like drum machine beat. And Jay sells both modes with an equal amount of sincerity. Sure, there are a few flops — the repetitive “Deep” and one-note “Fuck Up (Creepin)” are the biggest disappointments — but as a whole Even presents Jay as a serious contender and a worthy flag bearer for Santa Barbara’s long-wanting hip-hop scene.

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