Single review: Soulja by Oso Wavey Jay
‘Soulja’ is the debut single from 15 year old North London rapper, Oso Wavey Jay. Signed to London based record label ‘Bermuda Music’, the self-described “Wavey Trap” artist has set his career in the UK rap scene off to a powerful start. Delivering a track that is teeming with wordplay and innovative lyricism, it seems clear he is set for big things.
The song opens with the melody of a high pitched guitar strum. This, accompanied with a distant and casual baseline, is mellow and simplistic and continues throughout. The drums begin softly too; the gentle slapping of a snare played with brushes. Four bars later, Oso Wavey Jay’s lyrics arrive alongside a punchy bass drum and a sharp, rapid hi-hat, opening every second bar. These drums are intermittent and later, another higher guitar strum is layered in. The production of this track is tasteful and simplistic, the perfect backdrop which complements OWJ’s style and allows it to shine.
Fans of the genre will be pleased to hear he draws inspiration from fellow Londoner and big name in the UK rap scene, Dave. Oso Wavey Jay showcases his ability to switch up his style which keeps the track fresh and engaging throughout.
When demonstrating the confidence that he has in his own abilities, OWJ is firm without being disproportionately boastful: “I can’t lie my bars are top notch, the studio’s hot, I’ll make your head bop”. This self-assuredness is non-threatening but assertive, it’s refreshing to hear this portrayed without aggression or unnecessary putdowns; it’s satisfying that he is aware of his talents and this instils hope to see him go far.
Growing up with a DJ for an older brother meant OWJ had an early immersion in music. Despite these being his first steps in the industry, the youthful rapper has messages to spill beyond those expected at his age, and his style is distinctive. On the face of it, covering topics such as drug abuse and avoiding being pursued by police seems stereotypical of a ‘street-wise’ rapper, but Oso Wavey Jay’s lyrics seem personal. Lines like “I’ve sat in them cells” and “the feds have my face on a bonnet” highlight this young man’s honesty about the struggles he is faced with.
It’s an effortless detailing of his thoughts, feelings and experiences which leaves you with the realisation that this man is perhaps wise beyond his years.
“I can’t even lie I’ve got pain in my heart, I can’t even lie I’ve got weight on my shoulders”.
His sentiments are relatable, since we’ve all felt pain and carried burdens, but OWJ relates the weight of his lifestyle to that of a soldier’s. “I beg you please don’t judge this … try’na survive you can call us souljas”.
Whatever you may think of this declaration, you will surely agree that this is a well-crafted track which should be commended. Young talent can all too often be short-lived, but this debut offering is a taste of things to come as Oso Wavey Jay marches on into an undoubtedly successful future.
Listen to the single here.