bloody jay

Kyle Ellison and Joe Hooker have never been seen in the same room together

Rap bloggers may not be able to write blog posts as fast as Young Thug is currently writing rap songs, but fellow Black Portlandian Bloody Jay hasn’t yet got the credit he deserves. Thugga’s position in the limelight is justified, as he compensates for the anonymity of his stage name with vocal performances that demand you to feel a type of way – even if that type of way is old and confused. What makes Black Portland one of the year’s best releases, though, is that it’s a dual effort. Not in the sense that Jay steadies the ship while Thug is off dancing with the dolphins, either – the weighting is more or less equal and the Atlanta duo can get just as weird and just as wild as eachother.

Jay is currently incarcerated – which hasn’t helped him to retain heat – but he’ll get another opportunity to shine when Black Portland 2 drops this summer. If first single ‘Parade’ is anything to go by, then we can expect to see the pair forgo any remaining trace of bravado as they channel ‘Bring It On’ and play at being rap cheerleaders. Now, these days I’m more of a stand near the bar and nod my head kinda guy, but when these two implore me to clap along I’ll snap my hands together like a DJ Mustard drum pack.

In the meantime Bloody Jay continues to feed the streets with ‘Don’t Know’, taken from his forthcoming solo tape #NAWFR. Musically, it’s another stylistic left turn, as the sugar-rush synths that characterised his collaborations with Thug are met by a sombre acoustic arpeggio that wouldn’t be out of place in a Metallica slow jam. Fade to Black Portland.

Jay’s delivery on the song is all heart, consisting of what feels like only four bars and a hook, but sung as though no other words could possibly matter. Vocal levels frequently zoom into the red too, his voice sounding appropriately unstable as it shakes around at the top of the mix. “You don’t knoooowww” he croons longingly to nobody and everyone, and he’s probably right – but the more music he releases the more I feel like I want to.

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