Review: 18 SELF ADJUST

The Kigalian rapper polishes his style and submits some of his best songs, but the same thing that makes Chase dependable also makes him predictable.

 

18.SELF.ADJUST is Chase’s third project since Wait2Wait and he’s latest mixtape Sounds And Heartaches Fittingly titled, Chase told us during an interview that “18.Self.Adjust is a full stop to a certain stage of my life, in a way that I’d say that I actually know what I’m into, and it’s more about appreciating what the universe chooses for you and making peace with whatever that is”. The tape’s most thrilling single, “Ice Alert,” is like Chase’s savage take on “Way too precious,” And the opener “Deep Ends” is angelic neo-soul with the piercing emotionality of Joni Mitchell. “That Smile is worth a fortune, I pray you never lose it,” Chase rap and sing a simply gorgeous sentiment about leaving a person even if you don’t want to.

 

The twelve songs on 18.Self.Adjust sometimes feel like a scripted drama about just how complicated love and communication can be in our hyper-mediated present. Chase meets peers like Mucyo and Mike in illustrating those messy realities and then some, sifting through past traumas, suppressed feelings, the shortcomings of language, and the constraints of masculinity. His primary characters are broken people with baggage attempting to understand one another: “I’m always up but I stand down when Mother Nature responds … I’m only righting my wrongs, Hopin’ I’ll get to watch while you grow.” he sings on the aching, moody break-up banger “Little Things,” and things grow harder from there. But Chase treads into these seas, looks for anchors, and does not shy away from the crashing waves. “I don’t wanna be alone in this town,” he whisper-raps on the spare, vulnerable “First Time In Italy,.”

 

Chase explains, “I honestly dropped Pardon Me first because it was ready at that time no other reasons,.” Despite its crestfallen subject matter, “Deep Ends” is excellent fun. I like to imagine Chase listening to his hero, Kanye west, in his  immortal song “Heartless,” remarking “this is too deep” and then making a song based on that precise feeling.

 

The most crushing 18.Self.Adjust track is “Pardon Me,” an ode to honesty and patience in the wake of a dysfunctional relationship. It contains a magical melancholy, the kind that lifts you up. “You’re vibing with another me,” goes the resigned and uncommonly human refrain. An equally potent line—about the tendency of men to use women as therapy—Chase’s truth, though, rings resoundingly. Across 18.Self.Adjust, his lucidity is pure relief, but “Pardon Me” is so eloquent and resolved that you want to bow your head when it ends. Chase is teaching us how to talk to one another, and in the process, his voice has emerged more clearly than ever.

 

There are just enough of these moments on 18.SELF.ADJUST to distract from the fact Chase has yet to take a real, meaningful risk.

 

Produced By: Eloi El, Nshuti Reddy.

 

Listen to Chase’s 18 Self Adjust Album below