My favorite part about what I do is being able to discover new talented artists. Every so often I come across an artist that is making music beyond what their experience level typically allows. Enter Bloque, an up-and-coming hip-hop artist from The United Kingdom who may have just released a project that could be destined to end up on, “Most Underrated Albums of 2015” lists across the world. We have been keeping tabs on Bloque’s progress since the release of his track ‘Purple’ earlier this year. Knowing that his new project, HAYAMI was slated for release in September and after hearing a few of the singles…let’s just say that expectations were high.
Upon pushing play, you are met with an almost eery and calm piano number that is shortly combined with the low resounding rumble of a synth on ‘Glory’. From there, elements are added to the production as if guised as Russian nesting dolls. Bloque comes through with a clear command of his verses and talks about the selling power of ignorance, acknowledging that many artists craft their lyrics around things that they are unfamiliar with, referencing drive-bys. Halfway through the song he states and immediately reiterates, “It’s only human to fear me”, a bold statement for a new artist, but this emission of confidence is followed by the fading sound of a high-pitch piano note into nothingness and it returns as an explosion of bass and sound that is one of the best sounding productions of recent memory. Equal strides, Kanye and Travis Scott, only two-minutes in and it is obvious this album’s production alone will justify a listen-through.
On the tail end of the opening track, we catch a glimpse of Bloque’s singing style which is comparable to a certain Toronto artist by the name of Drake. On the following track, ‘Two Times’ we get a Bloque in full crooning mode. The formula is very representative of the style that many multi-faceted artists have been taking as of late; sentimental hook followed by bluntly delivered verses that are strung together by airy bridges to contrast. The contrast is isolated to occurring mostly only within each separate song. The production is varied and layered enough to be consistently engaging yet it all definitely occupies the same realm of thought and sound. Songs meld together thanks to these similarities and it creates an atmosphere that surrounds the entire work.
Topics are personal to Bloque’s past and his descriptions don’t often focus on details, but rather his emotions in those situations. He recollects his intimate encounters with women whom freely indulge in hard drugs. It is a very interesting perspective as he sings on ‘Purple’, “Cocaine and codeine I hope it don’t hurt you.” His observance becomes a point of introspection when he realizes these women do drugs to hide from the very demons he is hiding from them or perhaps himself. Bloque also puts you blindfolded in the passenger seat of his whip as he cruises around his neighborhood and paints an abstract lyrical picture of what it looks like. Over time, his abstractness can become a bit vague and the words lose some of their weight. The momentum is maintained through the stellar production and Bloque’s command over the rhythm.
His style seems to extend from a varied collection of influences. It bears close resemblance to the sound Future has been likened to over the last year or so. Progressiveness. That is the best word I can use to describe what Bloque embodies. He clearly has a lot to say about love and life and is capable of doing it in a way that hasn’t been iterated dozens of times before. His words and emotions are packaged in a way that make interpretation necessary. The album’s productions can both glide by soothingly and expertly induce an elevated heart rate within the same song. This project is representative of a lifestyle and geographical location that many of us will never experience, told in a way most of us have never heard. For now, Bloque represents the music scene a world apart in the UK; after a project of this caliber, it is certainly time for us to start representing him over here.