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ALBUM REVIEW: deep rest by A. Jackson

Hailing from Virginia, A. Jackson is an up and coming hip-hop artist inspired by storytellers such as Nas, J Cole, and hitmakers like Eminem and 50 Cent. This week I will be reviewing A. Jackson's debut album titled deep rest which just recently dropped last Friday on the 23rd!


The project itself consists of ten songs and is approximately a 33 minute listen. Sonically, it is a mellow listening experience with lo-fi heavy beats that are nostalgic and reminiscent. A. Jackson utilizes the atmosphere of each beat to melodically recount all of his ups and downs in life that led him to this point.


With only a few singles under his belt prior to this release, his sound as an artist is still fresh and a bit undetermined. On top of that, deep rest has only been out for a few days now. With it being such a new project, I am honored to be the one to give it a thorough listen and review as A. Jackson is beginning to solidify his sound and image.


Keep reading to hear more about my breakdown and analysis of each song as well as some words from A. Jackson himself!



rolling stone begins our listening experience with a calm and laidback beat. The song sounds relatively simple, but the beat compliments A. Jackson's smooth flow by filling up any empty space in the track. As per the song title, he is just rolling right over this beat with an effortless flow. My favorite part in this one is the outro!


missed calls is more emotional and reminiscent with some silly bars sprinkled in here and there. A. Jackson pours his heart out, utilizing an enunciated tone similar to spoken poetry. The feature, Mo Woods, sprinkles a bit of r&b into this lo-fi project. I love some good vocals and this was an immediate add to my playlist. These two contrasted each other perfectly. Is it too soon to say that this is my favorite song?


Don't get me wrong, I love when artists experiment with new sounds. At the end of day though, I can always appreciate seeing the true essence of an artist come out.

The third song, deep rest, is exactly that. This song has an acoustic studio session feel, and I can see why the title of the album came from this track. This one feels like A. Jackson at his most raw, vulnerable, and true form.

 

Vy: What was the inspiration behind this project, and what message did you want to give to listeners?


A. Jackson: The project started in spring 2020 with the intro rolling stone. I pretty much wrote this project in the order of the tracklist so that's why the project feels like it follows a chronological timeline.

The only couple of records I wrote prior to the intro were missed calls and hollow days / haunted houses. Those two records don't feel outdated to me. This is important because I feel like this project will stand the test of time.

 

I think the next song, grass is greener, would be a favorite amongst the general public! A. Jackson breezes across this beat with a catchy flow that stays consistent throughout. This song is an easy listening experience on the ears with amazing vocals, well written bars, and a unique outro that is the cherry on top.


I love the beat of m.i.a. so much. Hands down best beat off this project simply because of its depth and balance. All of the instruments compliment each other well -- especially those dreamy keys with that groovy bass. The feature, Nickelus F, transforms the beat by adding his own personality to the song. While A. Jackson fills the majority of the song, Nickelus F's flow is refreshing by finding the pockets within the song. His ad-libs made the song more fun -- less serious and more reflective in nature. Overall loved the meaning behind this song.


With five songs in, we've officially hit the halfway mark of our listening experience. Remember how I said this project is only a couple days old? Well it seems that listeners have already found a fan favorite!

up all night currently has the most streams off this project with over 2,000 streams -- and I can totally see why. The beat is so groovy and a bit 90s hip-hop reminiscent. This song is very mellow and simple, allowing the listener to appreciate and indulge in every bar and every chord.

 

Vy: What inspired the sound for this album?


A. Jackson: The project is consistently mellow and lo-fi. Walterwarm set the tone for this project. I wrote to his beats first. The rest of the beats were chosen to compliment his project. All of the producers went crazy.

 

The voicemail intro in new timezones set the tone beautifully for the rest of the song. A. Jackson maintains a similar flow and message throughout this whole project, but each beat allows every song to form their own unique identity. I enjoyed the moments in the song where the beat breaks because it makes those words hit even harder.


These song names deserve their credit because they are all so well fitting! hollow days / haunted houses is a bit eerie and tense, but there are definitely listeners out there who enjoy this dark kind of sound. Lots of hard hitting lyrics in this one as A. Jackson takes the driver's seat while the beat provides a simple cadence and ambiance. The second half of the song transitions back into that chill lo-fi feel, and I appreciated how smooth the transition was between both songs within the piece. Really added to the overall cohesiveness of the listening experience -- I can see why these two songs were combined into one piece!


Coming off of the last song, i'll be fine is a soft and calm listen that carries remnants of that eerie feel. This is another place where I can appreciate the clean transition between tracks. A. Jackson does an incredible job of telling his story in chronological order because this tracklist is extremely well curated and arranged.


We're nearing the end of our listening experience as we approach the last song. paid the price was released earlier this month as a single to give listeners a preview to this project. I can see why this song was picked as the single. This is a well-rounded song that has a unique beat, strong hook, and overall well mixed vocals. It's a great way to end the listening experience by leveling out the range of energy from the rest of the songs.

 

Vy: What's one fun fact about this project that listeners don't know about?


A. Jackson: I wrote a handful of these songs to other beats. For instance, I originally wrote the intro rolling stone to Drake's "deep pockets" beat.

 

Overall, this project has such a reminiscent and nostalgic feel that comes from the heart. It's really something that can't be recreated. You have to go through trials and tribulations to come up with such raw lyrics. I feel like I got a major glimpse into who A. Jackson is as a person through this project. Rather than solely focusing on his own journey, he also paid homage to his city, friends, and family that shaped him into who he is today.


deep rest is a personal album filled with carefully curated songs, a perfect selection of features, and intimate moments such as voicemail snippets that give listeners glimpses into who A. Jackson really is. Be sure to stream deep rest by A. Jackson, and stay tuned for my next album review!


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Written by Vy Truong, @avocavy on IG

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