REVIEW: “Heart Strings” EP by Kohen Jaycee x Axon
We all consume music differently. Some listen for vibes, others for vocals, whereas others tune in for lyrical proficiency… Others listen for different combinations of the many elements. That said, I believe that in one way or another, we listen to connect.
There is probably a song for every feeling. Whether you’re happy, sad, confused, or mad, there’s always a song for that! Through music, artists sometimes open a window into their emotions. They let us into their space, and allow us to peek into their inner thoughts. And as we listen and relate, we find joy, comfort, warmth, understanding… And yes, every now and then, we connect!
Over the years, Kohen Jaycee has consistently given us relatable music on so many different levels. Music that speaks of familiar stories, from the love that we don’t want to let go of (Not Lettin’ Go) to the love that the heart refused (Siganye). One thing that’s usually present in a Kohen Jaycee x Axon producer-artist collaboration is that feel-good energy. Even in the songs with names in the titles; you might not know an Eva, but the energy might make you feel like you like her already.
After the range of emotions on both WENA I and WENA II, Kohen Jaycee decided to turn it up a notch as he tugged at our HEART STRINGS with his latest project. Kohen announced the new project a couple of weeks before, as he celebrated his Wenaversary. That day, he dropped an acoustic version of his single “Your Number” off his Wena EP, and with the way he made that song from before Covid sound like it was fresh out the oven, we knew we were in for the musical equivalent of Fine dining.
This wasn’t the only clue in the build-up to the EP. Almost exactly a month before Heart Strings dropped, @KohenJaycee tweeted “I hate writing sad songs, but this one is special…” Personally, I felt like I had just been told a secret that I was really struggling to keep due to all the excitement and anticipation.
Luckily, I didn’t have to keep it for too long. The project finally dropped and we all got to listen to “Don’t Leave Me,” the first song off Heart Strings. @KohenJaycee was right, this one IS special!! I remember thinking to myself after listening to it that very first time, “We are witnessing a very special young talent.”
Don’t Leave Me is very well orchestrated! Right from the first sounds Axon delivered, it felt like a Siren call letting us know that we needed to brace ourselves for the emotional awesomeness ahead. As the song continues, we are treated to the same style of production behind some of our favorite collaborations between the duo. The sound is reminiscent of the one in Siganye, Ndi Naawe, Not Lettin Go…It’s a whole cheat code!
The moment Kohen Jaycee starts singing, he delivers a clear message and we can’t help but swim in the wave of empathy that hits thereafter. He is Believable! That’s the best part! When music sounds like it’s from an honest place, it makes the connection all the more pure.
As usual, the writing is bliss!! He blends great storytelling with the controlled vocals that we have gotten accustomed to. “I like that Kohen understands his voice and knows how to play within his range in order to make good music,” I said this in my review of the Wena II project, and yet it still rings ever so true! Well, except for the fact that I’d like to change that “good” to “Great”! Kohen Jaycee makes Great music.
Looking at the track list, one might complain that there isn’t enough. Yes, on paper, four songs might seem as short as Ian trying to reach for the mic after Kohen was done singing on the Season Finale of The Tribe UG Podcast. But the depth of flavor and the various layers that Kohen and Axon pack into this EP make it a case of “Quality over Quantity”. As I said earlier, this project is the musical equivalent of Fine dining.
The second song on the EP starts off on a High note as Kohen hits that falsetto, but this time it is “The Godfather,” Axon that shows off his range of production as he steps away from their usual Afro-RnB style that we’ve become familiar with, and blesses us with a different skillset that we might overlook when thinking of what he has got in his bag. When the beat drops, Nkulinze reminds me of RnB gems like Usher’s “Moving Mountains.” The style is similar, and if you’re an RnB fan, you can’t help but love it!
Halfway into the project and it had already offered so much. Two songs in, and I was already thinking ahead to that Album announcement that Kohen Jaycee made during the Heart Strings listening party. The final two songs offered the type of energy necessary to complete this four-course meal of an EP. For many, Ninyenda Iwe brought that feel-good vibe we have come to love. The song was penned by singer/songwriter Akeine and features her vocals as she backs up Kohen Jaycee with smooth harmonies.
This is the third review I’ve written for a Kohen Jaycee project, and just like I did for the first two, I have to commend Kohen for his impeccable track arrangement. Byokola is the dessert that this EP deserved. As a final song, it provides a lighter mood while maintaining the good vocals, fun storytelling, relatability, and good production that we have been served right from the start.
We all consume music differently. Some listen for vibes, others for vocals, whereas others tune in for lyrical proficiency… Others listen for different combinations of the many elements. Kohen Jaycee and Axon delivered an EP that could cater to your every need. Heart Strings is an intentional Project. The only thing better than listening to this project right now is watching Kohen Jaycee perform it live. We can’t wait to witness the next part of his musical journey.
Check out the EP HERE