Keeping flow while maintaining swagger and style can be a difficult task, but Brampton, Canada rapper Jviden excels with that in his new record Pure. Moody textures and dramatic scenes set Pure on the road to success and make for a very captivating listen.
Pure serves as Jviden’s first full length record, and his first full batch of tracks since 2015’s W.A.I.T. EP. Many of the principles of Jviden’s sound that were set in the EP re-establish themselves in this new record – the vigor of ‘Remember’ and the atmosphere of ‘When,’ for example, are key elements of what makes Pure so inviting. Jviden stays true to his core sounds and how he’s developed these skills through the creation of this record really shows it.
The album is lead in by the eponymous track ‘Pure,’ a chill track with a woman speaking about staying true to yourself. The song’s message is surrounded by dreamy synth textures that really soar peacefully. The sweet synths are replaced with something slightly more abrasive in the following track ‘Typical.’ Harmonies come in the form of distorted vocals turned to synths, with Jviden spitting a verse with conviction and a clear threat. A new artist typically wouldn’t sound this confident, but Jviden shows that he isn’t afraid. His bars are about staying true to himself and his attempts to “stay out of trouble” amidst a generalized view of what he represents. This level of fearlessness and strive really set the bar high for him – take away all preconceptions going into this track, and it could easily be mistaken for a signature Kanye West song.
This album doesn’t keep itself pigeonholed in this threatening vibe, however. A good half of the record has a much smoother vibe to it. We have Kanye on some tracks, and Usher meeting Drake on others. The soulful vibes are most clearly emulated on ‘Hotel’ near the end of the record, a jazzy intro featuring a flowing saxophone leading the track into its verses. The instrumental is punched in and out, going from louder, cleaner jazz tones to lo-fi iterations of the same jazz performance, giving the song different layers and moods as it progresses. McCallaman croons sweetly in the background throughout the track, further selling the sweetness. The song eventually progresses into a more hip-hop oriented one, the instrumental turning from the flowing jazz to a synth-based one. The track’s drama is tangible, but it’s easy to get lost in that instrumental before you hear it and really take it in.
Other calmer tracks include ‘Classic,’ featuring the same jazzy instrumentals but with a stronger hip-hop attitude. The beat is slow and careful, the instrumental staying consistent throughout, unlike ‘Hotel.’ K. Forest sings sweetly in the hooks, speaking of love and intimacy. ‘Topanga’ follows up, honestly feeling a bit lost amongst the scheme of the record; it’s definitely got a more poetic vibe to it, but it does feel like Jviden was a little uncertain going into it. ’12-Fifty1’ has a similarly chill instrumental like the previous tracks, but the highlight of this track is Jviden’s easy-going, free flow. It doesn’t sound compressed or restrained at all; these bars are straight from the heart.
Jviden’s a rapper you can’t mess with. Kanye and Drake, watch out. Pure proves that there’s a new competitor on the scene. All the tools are there for Jviden to make it huge. He has a perfect blend of soul and swagger that truly makes his music stand out. Don’t miss out on this record.