Rhyme Report Joe West

Published on May 23rd, 2023 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


Premiere: Joe West – Him [video]

Joe West calls his clip for “Him” a “visual banger.” Within seconds, you’re going to know exactly what he means. It isn’t just that the bottom end is intoxicating or that the drums are thunderous. It’s not merely that West raps with unerring precision and absolute authority. It isn’t even that this video — masterfully directed by Reilly Balcom — consists of one fantastic, memorable sequence after another. It’s that Joe West inhabits these frames with ease, confidence, and charisma. Shot after shot, moment after moment, he dominates this clip in the way that only a star can.

If he sounds pretty sure of himself, there are good reasons for that. West has a voice that leaps from the speakers — one that’s equally comfortable on club tracks, radio songs, and roughneck street-corner hip-hop. He’s a sharp, clever lyricist with an effortless wit and a turner of memorable phrases. He’s also a musician on a mission. As he raps in “Him,” he’s determined to re-center rap music upon the place of its initial conception: the northern neighborhoods of New York City.

That’s a heavy lift, but we wouldn’t bet against him when he’s putting out irresistible tracks like this one. “Him,” a fireball of a track, rides in on a slamming snare and a rubbery double bass groove, pivots midway to a fiery chorus, and wraps up in a tight and tidy three minutes. In between, the producers make plenty of space for Joe West to tell you exactly who he is and why he’s demanding your attention. He’s the man: the emissary, the representative of a revitalized New York, awake and aware, matching incendiary verse to music that simultaneously evokes the jazz-rap of the Golden Age and the street rap of the present moment.

New York City sure looks gorgeous in the “Him” clip: a sparkling amalgam of leafy Harlem streets, tall stoops, basketball courts, graffitied intersections, and handsome brownstones. With scenery that appealing, all Joe West would have to do to catch your notice is show up and rap with conviction and exuberance. That he does. But Reilly Balcom makes sure to choreograph these scenes cleverly, even if it’s just a group of kids nodding in unison or the rapper kicking verses through a magnifying glass. Even his apartment is loaded with eye-catching detail and brilliant color. These artists know that when you’re as good as this, there’s no moment or image to waste.

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About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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