Jack Of All Trades? Julian Stephen Reminds Us That Content Creation Can Be Multifaceted
The Internet (not the collective), is the place of discovery. Daily, we’re introduced to a surge of new talent competing for airplay, opportunity, and platforms to shine. The other week while utilising the WiFi, I was introduced to NYC’s Julian Stephen via Power 105. The act was promoting his e-series ‘Appropriate Culture’ in an interview with EmEz. During the interview, Julian touched on his album titled ‘Restart Continue’. The set was primarily created to aid the Appropriate Culture web-series. This instantly reminded me of the likes of Issa Rae, Childish Gambino and Keke Palmer, who frequently juggle the acting, and the musical forms of their artistry. The age-old convention that one must dabble in one art-form only to truly shine stayed in my line of thought for the whole day, because while I enjoyed Julian‘s visual outlet, I, in scepticism mode, doubted that the album could live up to its visual counterpart.
Julian‘s LP primarily dabbles in themes of motivation, sex, and love, with Julian turning to introspection to convey his many messages. For example, on RIP the OLD ME, the rapper talks about his struggles with being uncomfortable
“I’m showing myself how to grow // I’m making sure that now I know // I found my superpowers through the old me”
He sings over the sombre and laid back soundscape. Although highly animated, and in places sounded dangerously similar to Travis Scott, Julian isn’t terrible, quite developed actually considering that his development as a music artist is in its infancy.
Zoned, one of the albums latter numbers is the most cohesive in regards to Julian‘s use of vocal exploration. Here, Julian is poised and assured of himself as an artist. Even if that’s laced in auto-tune and deeper ad-libs, Julian proves that with the right backing in the studio, he can shine and hold his own on records.
From a sound-wave perspective, Julian’s Eta record is a project standout. The synths and riffs across the record are reminiscent of rock, while still maintaining a vibed out, soothing atmosphere consistently throughout the song. Julian taps into his albums theme and toys with the idea of restarting the moment with his female interest of the night.
“Always full of excuses // Don’t date niggas that make music”
He warns as the consequences of such are dealing with the late ETA’s (estimated times of arrival) and turbulent lifestyle.
Overall, Julian is transparent on the record and evokes situations and moods that millennial’s that are trying to navigate this social media era will completely understand and nod to as they take in the music. More importantly, however, I’m reminded of a lesson, there can be jacks of multiple trades. This isn’t to say Julian can’t refine his talent in projects to come, but the fact that he successfully juggles producing a web-series, with creating solid music with a good foundation is a testament to the fact that you can achieve more than one goal at one time. The New-York hustle continues to demonstrate that it’s like no other.
Stream Julian‘s debut project ‘Restart Continue’ and stream ‘Appropriate Culture’ below: