Written By: Fletcher Bonin
With his debut studio album Cloak Jordan Rakei reinvigorates the R&B and soul music scene. The triple threat singer, songwriter and producer Rakei channels post modern inspiration into an old school genre. The album, released late last year, is comprised of thirteen soft-spoken, slow, rhythmic tracks. Taken together, the album is delightfully mellow with jazzy undertones and instrumentals while maintaining a satisfying level of complexity. Rakei’s influences for this album are various and wonderful, combing John Legend type lyrical themes with at times jazzy, at times funky musical decisions.
It is Rakei’s vocal range and control as a singer that strengthen the album. The opening track ‘Midnight Mischief’ is one of my favorites off the album. It is jazzy and Rakei sings in staccato bursts before getting swept up in a swelling backbeat that showcases his soaring vocal ability. He sings “says she called me mister, under misty skies, and to get there quicker, revel through the night, cause I truly missed her, universal charm.” His voice is low and alluring, the soundtrack to dimly lit rooms with deep leather chairs and a roaring fireplace.
Another track I’ll be adding to my rotation is ‘Talk to Me’. Rakei gets a little more intimate on this track. His vocals outshine subtle instrumentals, rising and falling fluidly. He sings with heartfelt passion and an element of mystery that only adds to his luxurious sound. Against fast paced instrumental backgrounds, he sings “you cannot compare yourself to me, we are different, trapped inside a fake reality, ecocentric, waiting for disaster to strike me once I fall.” His vocals accomplish the compelling ability to draw the listener in with the sense of imparting a beautiful secret, while maintaining an element of deception that works further in his favor.
The songs on Cloak are diverse and varied in rhythm and lyrical styling, simply further showcasing the artist in Jordan Rakei. If your not willing to take on a whole album at this time, definitely check out the tracks ‘Toko’, ‘Snitch’, ‘Blame it on the Youth’ and definitely ‘Sworn Enemy’. In all honesty, you can’t go wrong with this album. Each track offers some new and interesting musical aspect that gives the album texture and uniqueness. He is a multifaceted talent that should absolutely be on your radar from now on. I mean, if this is his debut album, I am excited for what his next album will bring.