Today I’m talking about Gainesville, Florida, hip hop artist Shay-J. He’s got a lot of an Atlanta-type sound in his delivery. Shay-J released his album Lost in a Vast Abyss of Hip-Hop in like December, and I’m just now getting around to talking about it. Apologies to Shay for that. But, better late than never, right? Right.
So, a bit of background first. If you don’t know Shay-J, he’s a pretty phenomenal artist. When Common and Kid Cudi played at UF, Shay got to open for them, so if you went to that, you’ve heard him. Lost in a Vast Abyss of Hip-Hop promos were given out there, and practically everyone toward the front of the crowd got a promo. Over the past few weeks, Shay has been handing out copies of the album all around campus recently, so if you’re lucky enough to see him, ask for a copy. He’s been getting so much buzz in Gainesville, the Alligator even did a story on him.
As a matter of fact, the first night I met Shay-J, he ended up doing a recording of “Can I Kick It? (2009)”, which is one of the songs he performed when he opened the Common & Cudi show. As you can probably tell, Shay goes over the the “Can I Kick It?” instrumental, and needless to say, he owns it.
“Look of Love” is a great track off the album. The beat is laid back, yet the subject matter and the delivery is pretty serious, leading to an interesting contrast. That’s really what I love about Shay’s tracks: the lyrical content. Every song means something. There aren’t any tracks that are just throwaway filler tracks, which is impressive, especially for a 19 track album.
“Late Night Special (Apple Drank)” is probably my favorite track on the album. The way he talks to his producer at the beginning is a great addition, and I’m really glad they didn’t cut that out. It gives it a nice, little, ragged-edge type feel. The guitar bit about three minutes into the song is fucking dreamy, as is the horn solo that starts a little after four minutes in. And once again, the lyrics are creative, yet not overly complex, allowing the listener to just zone.
You can listen to the whole album online. Hit up Shay’s bandcamp page. There you can listen to every track for free, and if you feel like buying it, you can purchase it for five bucks or more. It’s a name your price sort of thing, except the minimum to pay is five dollars. But for 19 tracks, it’s more than worth it.