A delicate vocal embraces a toned synth melody with ease, but in the shadow of the harmony they create together there rises a sense of tension that will stay with listeners throughout the whole of “Aajah,” the debut single from Hassa currently out everywhere that quality hip-hop is sold and streamed. There’s an insurgent restlessness to the rhythm of the track that makes itself obvious to anyone who tunes-in closely to the percussion, but the verses themselves are seemingly fragile and relaxed by contrast. Whether it be the grind of the drums or the elegant sway of the vocal that counters their every groove, “Aajah” has got a way of stoking a reaction out of anyone listening without assaulting the audience with a chaotic chorus, overwhelming bassline or vicious vortex of aural pulsations. Hassa has no place for such predictable concepts in his music; in his debut, he establishes himself as a poet, a principled beat-maker, and above all else, as an artist who wants to communicate to his fans through more than just cutting-edge rhymes exclusively.

Instrumentation aside, Hassa’s lead vocal is a textured, inviting element that works as more of a juggernaut than any other part in this song does. His singing adheres to a fundamental urban pop framework, but when it’s time to go hard his verses are rock-solid and impenetrable in the grander scheme of things. There’s a lot to dissect in the backend of the mix, but the intricacies are built around the cadence of the lyrical delivery alone – this is a multidimensional showcase single, but it’s hardly an experimental exhibition piece.

I-HEART RADIO: https://www.iheart.com/artist/hassa-33098603/songs/aajah-75507269/?autoplay=true

My gut tells me that Hassa wanted to break us off a sample-sized offering in “Aajah” that was both complicated in narrative and yet unfanciful by design, thus appealing to the sensibilities of pop fans while making it clear to hip-hop enthusiasts what his real aesthetical direction is to be. I’d like to hear him try out even more stripped-down material in the future, but I can also imagine him tackling a somewhat statelier sound and coming across just as well as he does in this single.

Students of the modern hip-hop school both young and old alike would be wise to check out this intelligent hybrid of melody and majestic swing in “Aajah” over the fall season, as it undoubtedly provides a sneak preview of what’s soon to come from the emerging artist that is Hassa. He’s doesn’t seem to have any problems bearing his soul to us in his lyrics, nor does he steer clear of an eclectic songwriting technique that could develop some really inventive hooks in future jam sessions – from where I sit, he’s got the swagger and the stylishness to do just about anything he wants in the future, as long as he sticks to the set of ethics he’s utilizing in this track.

Hassa has a lot of competition in the American rap underground as well as abroad right now, but I have a good feeling that he’s going to show us just how sharp a talent he’s got in the next couple of releases he shares.

Nicole Killian

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