On his newest hip-hop project “The Making of a Monster”, local artist Jay Portal, produced by DBLCRSS, demonstrates his ability to invigorate and express the headspace of an artist hedonistically indulging in the urban night life around him. He confronts the inner toll his lifestyle brings amidst the rise of his profile and popularity within the local music scene.
Aside from the clear melodic energy Portal brings to the mic, this project does not demonstrate anything creatively new being brought to the genre or sound. It isn’t sonically unique or exciting. The lyrics Portal raps also do not carry any creative wordplay or substance, with many of his bars reflecting the current popular aesthetic of hip-hop’s trap genre. This aesthetic being the angry, hedonistic, libido crazed, drug influenced, head-banging, and, one could argue, misogynistic trap lifestyle/stereotypical rap image that is leading on the charts–although, never failing to get the mosh pits and the youth moving.
The lack of lyricism on this project does not suggest that Portal does not bring forth his own identity through his lyrics, or that he can’t communicate the energy he feels. Upon hearing his first words on the first track “Demons”, you can feel the headspace of Portal and the direction of this musical project as he angrily decrees through autotune, “This is not a song this a making of a monster/ All you do is talk and act like I’m gonna fucking bomb first”.
It is in moments like these on his project where Portal viscerally communicates his bars into a catchy melodic hook, bringing life to DBLCRSS‘s generic trap beat, which creates some interest in what he has to say next. The issue that arises is that what is next is essentially a pendulum swing of lacklustre bars, and club trap production that never really changes or challenges itself. At it’s lowest, the project becomes dull and annoying, especially when Portal raps about his encounters with females on tracks like “Day 2 Day” and “Freak”.
At it’s highest, like on track’s “Demons” and “Awh Yeah”, Portal delivers his own style that melodically delves into his own introspective ideas of his environment—wondering if he can ultimately secure ‘the bag’ and help his mom out financially, but also deliver musically to his loyal fan base.
To his fans, his music output has been consistent, and it’s unreasonable to suggest that they would not be satisfied with TMOFAM. Overall though, Portal does not demonstrate depth in his bars, and DBLCRSS’s production is standard but at times too dry to compliment Portal’s bars. Although it is evident, some tracks do express this punk “f*** you” energy that succeeds in conveying the trap mood embodied by “The Making of a Monster”, which, at the very least, is entertaining.