The calendar turning over can solely imply one factor — New 12 months’s resolutions. And the core of all these aspirational objectives we set for ourselves is easy — development. We need to develop into higher variations of ourselves over the course of the 12 months.
For Spokane hip-hop/R&B artists Jinx Universe (Derrick Jenkins), ExZac Change (Zac Hawkins) and Iyzlow Matisse (Mike Barnes), that core precept is not only a whim to hope for in January and shortly overlook. It is with that concept in thoughts that the performers are coming collectively for “Good Development,” a particular live performance at Fortunate You Lounge on Jan. 5 that can function a kind of belated double report launch present for his or her 2022 albums: ExZac Change & Iyzlow Matisse’s Development Spurt and Jinx Universe’s Make It Look Good.
The three linked by native beatmaker DJ Donuts. He occurred to ship a specific beat to each Jinx and the duo of ExZac Change and Iyzlow Matisse. After they each realized they had been working over the identical music, they determined to collaborate on the tune “After the Rain,” which ended up as a monitor on Development Spurt.
“Jinx has a line on ‘After the Rain’ that I believe sums it up actual properly,” Iyzlow remarks. “He says, ‘The Avengers bought solo films, [but] the actual blockbusters [are] once they get collectively [and] go Wu-Tang on them suckers.’ As a result of it is like, individually, all of us kinda doing our personal shit, however once we all hyperlink as much as do one thing that is bigger than every of us, it is prefer it’s a testomony to the neighborhood and what we will all do once we collaborate.”
Jinx Universe is difficult to categorize. As he says himself, “I’m a rapper, however I am additionally a singer. Generally I am a f——- rock man. And typically I am a pop artist. The people who encourage me are the Pharells, the Andre 3000s, the Kanyes — those that simply do regardless of the f— they need to do. … My music is my persona.”
That various outlook may be heard throughout Make It Look Good. On one tune it’d really feel like a cool R&B album (“Let’s Do It Once more”) and the following second it will probably appear extra like a rap report (“Soar”). The album’s most noticeable ingredient is likely to be simply how a lot swagger Jinx places into the tracks, however that outward confidence belies the precise way of thinking the songwriter was in when making the report. Popping out of a private darkish interval, he wasn’t even certain he may nonetheless write songs.
“Make It Look Good is deeper than what individuals suppose,” says Jinx. “I believe that this report actually helped get me out of a little bit of a despair. I believe that this album has introduced loads of positivity to my life that I actually wanted. Actually, I actually wanted so badly. And I believe that is what I am probably the most pleased with. I used to be like, ‘Yo, I am nonetheless dope. And the music’s nice, and it is optimistic.'”
ExZac Change and Iyzlow Matisse have been collaborating for properly over a decade — making mixtapes in closets, placing out a pair EPs and sharing the stage — however Development Spurt marks a brand new excessive level for the duo. Raised on lyrically pushed East Coast growth bap hip-hop, ExZac and Iyzlow show a chemistry of their energetic circulation that feels easy over the LP’s 15 principally breezy tracks. Whereas their origins had been simply making information for enjoyable — and there is nonetheless loads of stoner rap enjoyable to be discovered on Good Development — the upcoming arrival of Iyzlow’s second daughter and ExZac’s first son refocused the writing and the explanations for writing songs for the pair.
“The vibe with the best way Zac writes his songs, he all the time conjures up me to be a greater author,” says Iyzlow. “So I really feel like iron sharpens iron and we stage one another up a bit of bit. However I really feel like this newest album, Development Spurt is type of just like the end result of us actually honing in on our sound and leveling up our sound and experimenting with new harmonies and issues that we have by no means actually carried out earlier than. We branched out from simply rapping and did singing and different stuff on this album that we have by no means carried out earlier than. I really feel like we’re lastly at a degree the place we’re so comfy with how we work properly collectively, due to the muse that we have constructed, that we’re in a position to type of take these dangers and probabilities and provide you with one thing that far exceeds something that we have carried out until this level.”
There’s additionally an influence of positivity that undergirds Development Spurt and all of the music the duo creates.
“Zac all the time says that we’re extra than simply rappers, we’re motivational audio system, man,” says Iyzlow. “It is how we type of categorize what we do some bit. On Development Spurt we bought a tune known as ‘One Inch,’ and the hook is, ‘Every single day we develop. Every single day we attain. Every single day we sow. Every single day we reap. And I simply wanta know once I fall asleep, that the strikes and errors I made bought me one inch additional than yesterday.’ So it would not take loads of progress, however if you happen to simply attempt to transfer one inch additional than you had been yesterday, then you definitely’re in a fairly great spot.”
The vibes of Jinx, ExZac, and Iyzlow sync, so doing a joint album launch present appeared like a pure match — one based mostly on mutual respect and camaraderie.
“Zac and Mike are my favourite rappers in Spokane,” says Jinx. “And I believe that our messages and our music intersect very properly. And we’re all dads, most significantly, so I believe that the connection is simply so pure. …We’re truly associates. Like we’re round one another’s children and shit. … So all of us are massive champions of neighborhood and bringing concepts. You understand, simply coming collectively like Voltron.”
When speaking to the fellows, “Good Development” appears much less about celebrating the brand new albums and extra about constructing a stronger music neighborhood in Spokane.
“[The scene] wants a main push,” says Jinx. “I believe I gravitate in direction of these guys, as a result of they are surely what they are saying they’re about, and that is neighborhood and supporting one another. And I believe that lots of people across the metropolis declare to be about that, however they’re actually not. I hope that we’re main by instance, and displaying them how highly effective we may be collectively.”
“It is getting out of the consolation zone and having that collaborative spirit,” ExZac provides. “It is simple to collaborate inside your individual circles and your individual teams. It is one thing that we have even struggled with previously. We need to have a collaborative spirit. What do you do? You play the bass? You shred guitar? You sing? There are locations on our songs for individuals who do all kinds of issues, and vice versa. So type of opening these doorways for individuals to really feel comfy to get in a room and collaborate with some individuals they do not know. We’re in the identical metropolis, we’re in the identical scene, however we stay strangers if we preserve that mentality.”
“Particularly after the pandemic, everyone’s type of stretching their legs and getting again exterior once more” Iyzlow continues. “I believe some individuals type of should be taught — or relearn — play good with others once more.”
The crew hesitates even calling “Good Development” a “present” as a result of they do not need it to really feel like every common Spokane hip-hop live performance — they need it to be an occasion. To that finish, the fellows are bringing in designer Jáiz Boyd of Birds within the Coast to construct units for the night time so as to add a theatrical ingredient. They’re additionally making one-night solely customized merch for the gig. It is all an effort to make the native scene really feel seen — not a random hodgepodge of sound that folks would possibly take a look at at a number of reveals a 12 months, however an energetic and thriving symbiotic neighborhood.
“We’re making an attempt to create an actual particular vibe, the place you bought to be there to expertise it and take one thing away from it,” says Jinx. “And if you happen to do not make it out, you are gonna miss out.” ♦
Good Development: Jinx Universe, ExZac Change & Iyzlow Matisse, DJ Donuts • Fri, Jan. 6 at 8 pm • $12 • 21+ • Fortunate You Lounge • 1801 W. Sundown Blvd. • luckyyoulounge.com