Big James’ “NASAGOLD EP” guides us on a blunt ash-filled trail through his life as a rising artist in the city. He illustrates his experiences with mystic and aerial production crafted by longtime producer, Sean Starks. Similar to 2015’s “NASA EP,” Starks’ production offers a sound that seamlessly blends with James’ laidback vocals, which he uses to note how his imminent success has led to the presence of women, recognition, praise, and criticism. All of which he talks about throughout the project’s eight tracks.
It’s a layer of substance that James’ previous project largely missed, and one he fully embraces through songs like “Glasshouse”. James enforces his will, informing people on his forthcoming success. “Bitch I’m next/Cut the check/I ain’t gotta flex.” In his mind his arrival upon the upper echelon of Columbus artists is near, and James isn’t concerned with facing any challengers. “I was an underdog/But now I’m bout to run the town.”
One of the project’s most glaring features is its cohesion, as James’ themes and sound blend harmoniously from start to finish. But what separates it from his previous projects is, ironically, its versatility. James’ dark, blunt-filled imagery is present, while he also explores introspective topics like on “I-670.” James reflects on his experiences as a young child, and how the moments have made him into the person he’s become. He envisioned these blessings, and foresaw the success he would obtain back when he was dreaming from the coroners off highway I-670.
Big james’ “NASAGOLD EP” is a step in the right direction, as it deviates from his last project’s bland, repetitive sound and offers a more well-rounded body of work. Though the project still suffers from these same issues, they’re shrunken to small doses, which allows much of James’ sound to resonate. He and Sean Starks create a cosmic sound comparative to artist-producer duos like Smoke DZA and Harry Fraud.
But with James’ improvements there’s still more to be desired, as much of James’ sound could be mistaken for established artists like project feature MadeInTyo and Wiz Khalifa. His influences fluctuate within his sound, which may serve to hinder him down the road. James needs to continue working to separate himself from those artists, and in time, his placement among the best artists in the city could be a reality.