With the release of her second album, New Jersey-born contemporary rap extraordinaire 070 Shake has redefined the aesthetic of melancholy. You Can’t Kill Me, released under G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam is a refined, focused project that rejects and exceeds the boundaries of rap.
You Can’t Kill Me covers themes like heartbreak, mental turmoil, and a contemplative sense of newfound self-awareness. But rather than being a harrowing experience that leaves listeners emotionally drained by the end, the album is imbued with a crucial element: a brand of cautious hope.
The album is full of dark yet triumphant numbers, evoking a feeling of damaged resilience. A great example of this is the borderline hyper-pop track “Skin and Bones,” which is, on the one hand, a mourning of love lost, but also a song of gratitude for the growth that love can provide. Throughout the album, sad lyrics continuously take on a new dimension with the help of brilliant, uplifting instrumentation and meticulous production.
The greatest achievement of Shake’s sophomore album is its effortless flow between ultra-modern sensibilities and more traditional principles to create something truly fresh. Tracks like “Cocoon” and “Blue Velvet” will remind listeners of Kid Cudi and Kanye West, while complex arrangements such as “Invited” and “Wine & Spirits” border on psychedelic folk-rock. Unlike Shake’s earlier work, which leaned heavily on its digital, distorted aesthetic, You Can’t Kill Me makes use of everything from fuzzy guitar riffs to booming ’80s-style drums—bending and adapting them to fit seamlessly into the overall aesthetic.
There’s something for everyone on 070 Shake’s latest, whether you’re searching for weekend-worthy anthems or more sombre, muted numbers. The breadth of emotions, aesthetics, and genres on offer here make this album an exciting innovation in contemporary rap and a must-listen for newcomers and fans alike.