Harlem-bred rapper Jaquell made an impression with the release of “Uptown” earlier this month, proving his left-field approach to rapping has serious potential. With the release of his debut mixtape NEXT LEVEL, he’s broadcasting a little more of what he’s capable of. Produced entirely by the always incredible Blank Body, NEXT LEVEL is a sometimes obtuse mixtape that can be hard to follow, but ultimately, it’s a rewarding listen front to back.
With one of the most distinctive and talented producers currently working on his side, Jaquell has definitely delivered a solid debut with NEXT LEVEL. Blank Body’s touch can be felt all over the project, with it acting as an impressive showcase of his production expertise just as much as Jaquell’s rapping and songwriting abilities. From the moment “Been Gone” begins, Jaquell delivers a hypnotic hook atop Blank Body’s memorable production, opening the project remarkably strong.
It’s not quite a perfect debut, some tracks meander a bit too much here and there, and the mastering on tracks like “Low Key” and “I Know Me” could do with some work, but there’s denying Jaquell is one to watch following its release. If he builds upon what he built here, his next project could truly be something special.
Listen to the whole mixtape below.