Julian Stephen may be the new artist on the rise, popping up all over the blogosphere – but he’s more than familiar around these parts. The Queens MC finally let’s loose a slew of new material on his long-awaited fourth project (in under two years), #AwkwardMoments. The mixtape features production from Trox, BranDUN Deshaw, Andrew Lloyd, Tim William, The Common Wealth, among others as well as contributions from Victoria Juste and Osasu Love. We’ve got it ready for download, we’ve got it already reviewed for you! Step further into the world of the budding, bona fide star.
DOWNLOAD: Julian Stephen – #AwkwardMoments (Mixtape)
Familiar bars float in from his a capella performance at the Well Done BBQ blossom with the BrandUN Deshay produced track, “Sophisticated Thoughts.” The booming opener comes to life through his powerful lyrics as he recites, “Sophisticated thoughts, million dollar dreams / Living like a slave but thinking like a king” on the 1st of many standout hooks on the record. His own brand of social commentary continues throughout the project, rapping about experimenting with different vices to balance out the not-so-ideal life in “Shooting Hoops”, the aspirations and life of a young rapper in “Hoodie Music,” and an ode to a much younger self to keep up the wishful thinking on the heart-warming closer, “11:11″.
While the social commentary gives us an insight into the working mind of Julian Stephen, the mixtape indeed boasts it’s own set of groovy tracks. It kicks off with Andrew Lloyd’s production on both “69 (Creepin)” and “Mom Knows Best”, the former a bouncy track with a bit of a 90′s feel and the latter a charming dedication to the mommas out there. The track list wouldn’t be complete however without another whirlwind collaboration with producer Tim William. He provides Julian with the radio ready, spacey number “Dance With Me”, a funky opus which meshes pop and hip hop laces by a righteous hook by Tim himself.
The latter half of the mixtape definitely continues the story explored on previous mixtapes, featuring Julian Stephen’s view and experiences with the female species. The promiscuous female personage captivates Julian on the Trox produced single “Tootsie Roll”, followed by the daunting dame on “Insecure Fears”, and the story of a habitual opportunist on “Booty Call Hrs.” The track “hey stranger” is a clear standout, weaving a clear narrative of a young girl’s life gone awry in the worst way.
#AwkwardMoments is easily Julian Stephen’s most mature and confident project to date. While Julian once claimed a rapping alter-ego in JuJu, it seems like with this latest project those days are coming to an end. On #AwkwardMoments we meet solely Julian Stephen, a young man finally growing into his own, understanding out who he is, and finally accepting the kind of music he wants to make. A clear consistent sound met with ‘sophisticated thoughts’ to produce a stellar project worthy being proud of.
Watch the first video from #AwkwardMoments, “Tootsie Roll.”