Written By: Michelle Doering
Originality: (4 / 5) Vocals/Flow: (3.5 / 5) Lyrics: (4.5 / 5) Production: (3 / 5) Average: (3.8 / 5)
Transcendent, emphasis on the trans, is the work of New York raised and Chicago-based rapper/model, London Jade.
Now, allow me to present some facts about Ms. Jade. She is: A trans woman, a sex and body positive rapper, a female MC, a woman of color, an abuse survivor, a voodoo and witchcraft enthusiast, and an all around interesting and creative person.
Yeah, that’s a lot of stuff going on in one mind. And it definitely shows in her music. Every song on this EP draws on elements of who she is and what’s she’s been through and presents an honest, and often graphic depiction of what she feels. She raps like she’s straight up attacking the mic. It feels as though she’s in a constant battle of the minds and fighting for her right to be who she is and say what she wants to say, consequences be damned. So naturally, even though it’s not something I would typically listen to, I dug it.
The lyrics are incredibly clever. It takes a few listens for all of the different meanings to sink in, but as a huge literature nerd, I kept finding myself surprised and delighted by all of the plays on words and double meanings. In fact, the entire song “Hymn” (as in, “I just dedicated him a hymn”) is a product of clever word play. Also, the songs have the tendency of starting off in some sort of atmospheric storytelling space before branching off into explicit rap, which provides a really cool contrast.
Easily the best song on the EP is the title track, “Transcendent.” It goes hard and it pulls no punches, thus creating a proud and completely original work of art.
There’s also: “Cup”, a fun and layered song that’s got this chill ‘winding down at the end of a really great party’ sort of vibe. “The Beast”, which was enjoyable, though probably my least favorite of the bunch. However, it did tell probably the clearest story of these four songs and showcases Jade’s witchy origins in an odd fever-dream-esque way. As well as the aforementioned “Hymn”, which I love for its originality and catchy hook.
All in all, I found this EP a fascinating and eye-opening listen. I hope that London Jade continues making music, slaying the rap game, and inspiring other trans people to believe in their personal power as much as she does for many years to come.