Since the release of his late 2016 breakout record “Roses,” the anticipation has been high for Brooklyn’s own, SAINt JHN to deliver a proper full-length effort. After teasing fans with a handful of songs over the past few months, he finally dropped off his debut album titled Collection One. JHN delivers a 13-track offering that showcases a variety of styles from a multi-faceted artist.
Collection One opens up with a duet of sorts with Janelle Kroll, the projects lone feature, on “Lust” that transitions at the halfway point to a haunting instrumental complimented by deafening drums. In his opening verse, SAINt JHN raps about his journey, proclaiming “I come this far, I can’t fuckin’ complain/I get the seats with the desk on the plane/ Parts of my past I’m not proud to admit/ So I will confess, there’s no truth in the name.” JHN has had success working behind the scenes in the music industry for years now as a songwriter, and this is evident from projects start as you can hear his maturity as a vocalist and writer.
Stylistically throughout the album, there is a balance of tracks that lean towards the modern trap sound with bangers like “Surf Club” and “God Bless the Ratchets,” along with songs that are melodically driven, where he delivers more introspection. The latter is where we see his skill set shine best. On “God Bless the Internet,” which appears two songs before its polar opposite “God Bless The Ratchets,” he gives an honest articulation of his difficulties walking a faithful lifestyle. He sings “Maybe I should not be drinkin’, before you ask me just how I feel/Maybe I should not be drinkin’, ‘fore I speak my mind, that’s not ideal/Yeah I got a girlfriend, yeah I should be faithful/I think of you like Wi-Fi, and I think of her like cable.”
The uniqueness SAINt JHN’s song structures and vocal tone is a large part of what makes him a dynamic artist, so on songs like “Traci Lords” that sound more like everything else out today you feel a bit let down. Especially when he delivers anthemic records like “Roses” that make you feel like he could be a transcendent talent. One of the few drawbacks of the album are a couple of those “flexing” tracks that sound indolent from an artist with such wide-ranging talent.
The production is lively throughout, with futuristic pop, electronic and trap-inspired elements scattered all over. The imagery of an alcohol-fueled party lifestyle over dark instrumentals dominates a solid portion of Collection One. Certain songs sound distinctly like the night at the club, while others feel more like an examination of what he learned from those nights out and how he’s dealing with the consequences. The project has a youthful sound, coming from a seemingly seasoned artist, making his articulation of a rap star’s lifestyle more effective than the simplicity of an “it was lit.”
Collection One is an admirable debut release from SAINt JHN that will satisfy fans who have been waiting over a year for its release. With an official release underneath his belt, the Brooklyn representative has given fans more than enough to be optimistic about the future.