Whenever I hear a song I like, and don’t have the immediate convenience of Shazam or a device near me, I remember artists the old fashioned way: repeating their name over and over to myself until it’s melted into my brain. Now that Jordan Bratton is in my head, it’s a good chance he’s never coming out. Last year, he released his first mixtape, “The Grey Area”, a vehicle of his extraordinary and various talents that was met with praise and comparisons to the likes of Frank Ocean and Justin Bieber with a hint of FYP (formerly young and pure) Chris Brown. Now that his new EP “Youth” is available to stream on Spotify and up for purchase on iTunes, it seemed more than obvious that I choose to write my first album review on this tremendously talented young man.
“Prisoner” may, at first, sound exactly like what one would expect when introduced to a new “gospel r&b singer” but it takes a sudden modern twist with its production and a guest flow by Chance The Rapper, acting as an appropriate segue from Bratton’s musical background into his unique interpretation. “Bound” showcases Bratton”s soaring vocals, emitting light in the otherwise dark production with a deep build-up that spreads out into a heavy dance anthem. Traces of traditional African music are found in “Victoria”, possibly inspired by his role as “Young Simba” in the Broadway production of The Lion King at the age of 9. “Cold Killer” boasts influences of old school rap and hip-hop with high hats that would make Pharrell doubt the length of his hat and wavy wah guitar that will make Ice Cube angry enough to lay down a verse. Once “Cold Killer” concludes its jam, the listener is met with “Answers”, a suspenseful, eerie and brief interlude that sets the mood for the EP”s final track. Youth concludes with a remix of Bratton”s previous single, “Danger”, featuring Fabolous (or Loso in case you ain’t know so). Fab gives a Thanksgiving-laced introduction and short verse that leaves on a cliffhanger, allowing Bratton to pull you back in with the emotionally driven chorus.
It’s no secret that Bratton is a man of faith. References of the road to heaven, the consequences of sin, and the ongoing battle with temptation can be found in most of his songs from “The Grey Area”, but Bratton is determined to break the assumption that his music is solely for the church-goers with “Youth”. The production in each song emits a loud and pulsing atmosphere, forcing Jordan to belt out emotion in his words and expose the strength in his head and heart. With the maturity in “Youth” stemming from the incredible debut in “The Grey Area”, one can only imagine what Jordan Bratton will bless us with next. Stream “Youth” on Spotify below or purchase at iTunes here.