Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

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EP Review: Various Artists – Wondaland Presents: The Eephus

2 min read

Wondaland Presents: The Eephus is a strange first move. It’s more of a teaser of what’s to come from Janelle Monáe’s newly formed Wondaland Records label than anything else. With a track from each signed unit, it sets a clear picture of what’s to come; it’s not an entirely convincing picture, but the good moments more than make up for the pitfalls.

Wondaland Records Wondaland Presents The EephusJidenna’s track Classic Man is probably the most popular track on the EP, but it’s far from the defining moment. Comparisons to Iggy Azalea’s Fancy are nothing new, but they’re valid, and possibly the reason both it and the Kendrick Lamar remix stand out as the low points. Label leader Monáe’s contribution is more enjoyable, with its slinky verse beats and its lively chorus to offset them. Coming from an artist like Monáe, though, its obvious sexual connotations and mainstream pop leanings feel awkward rather than interesting.

The rest, however, is pure gold. Deep Cotton’s Let’s Get Caught already has a good funk factor, but the constant falsetto vocals over the top are an amazing addition that make it feel fresh and exciting. Roman GianArthur’s iKnow is a glorious mid-tempo R&B track bolstered by his smooth vocals and a nice use of reverb on most of the song’s elements, giving it an element of space that makes it easier to appreciate. St. Beauty’s Going Nowhere, however, is the real defining moment; it’s a shining trip-hop masterpiece that clearly stands out from the rest, still funky but with a dream-like quality to it that suits the girls’ vocals perfectly.

While The Eephus is a bit of a mixed bag, it’s a good sign for the Wondaland Records label in the future. There are some extremely talented artists on show here, and St. Beauty, Deep Cotton and Roman GianArthur all do a brilliant job of commanding your attention. As strange a release as it is, and as disappointing as some of the tracks were, it’s a largely exciting opening statement for Monáe’s label and the future of its members.