01. Toast Review
“Toast,” the opening track on Closed Caption Vol. 1: Motivation, is a cinematic track, boasting of a marriage between traditional hip-hop samples, orchestral instruments and modern sound design. The track is dramatic, yet smooth, yielding easy listening. Not mindless listening, however; the track demands an emotional response from the listener- even apart from the thought provoking lyricism. Joe Nance, clearly a gifted writer, delivers a message we are all too unfamiliar with in the world of Hip Hop: to put in the work, get up when we fall, and hold close values of man that often go uncelebrated in today’s urban culture. Integrity, honor and respect are amongst these. “Toast” aims to bring light to those who carry these values, lifting a glass to those who are “putting in work every day, with no fear…” as repeated in the chorus. Later rapping “came so close, but never gave in, made mistakes but then you made amends” suggests the writer holds a sense of value in justice and determination. Once again refreshing for this genre. Perhaps my personal favorite part of the song is the chorus, where I found myself singing along most frequently. The catchiest part was by far the back end of the hook; “put your glasses up high, put your glasses up, hey.” My least favorite part of the song was minimal, but it came at the very end, where Nance kept rapping with subtle effects on his voice. I would’ve appreciated the end of the song to be instrumental, as time to process the moving lyrics I had just listened to. Overall, “Toast” is a very strong track, a professional product containing a positive message a lot of today’s generation needs to hear.
Review by Mtinezz
02. Zoning Review
The second track off of Closed Caption Vol. 1: Motivation takes a bit more of an artistic approach, lyrically accented with a touch of ambiguity. Using “we zonin’” as the lyrical hook, the track is an approach inside the mind of Nance and his ambitions. “I got so much on my mind these days, I’m on the grind these days, feels like a growth spurt, I’m going through a phase. I’ll get it for all it’s worth, you see me I’ll put in work, I see you I’m not afraid, we on to much better things” suggests that Nance and his team are not only true optimists but are confident in their future paths validated and backed by their work ethic. One can only help but to feel motivated and inspired. Once again, the production of the instrumental track is stellar. “Zoning,” similarly to “Toast,” contains traditional hip-hop samples, this time paired with a more aggressive set of instrumentation. Thanks to the layered synths, background fx, (like the occasional sirens) bassline and minor tonality, “Zoning” has a darker overall vibe musically, contrasting it’s bright, positive message: dreaming of what’s to come. While maybe not as hooky as the first track, “Zoning” is a strong follow up to “Toast” and certainly succeeds in bringing the listener to a place of optimism and inspiration.
Review by Mtinezz
03. Light in You Review
“Light in You” differs from its precluding tracks in a sense that it seems to direct all of the EP’s attention from Nance and his experiences, now to the listener. It feels like Nance is talking right to me, recognizing something ‘in [me]’ and ‘[he] likes what [he] see’s, a feeling [he] can’t explain.” What a wonderful way to conclude Closed Caption Vol. 1: Motivation. Sending the listener off with such a personalized message of empowerment. This track felt most modern-sounding to my ear. 8th note staccato strings, paired with modern hip hop drum samples gave a familiar yet fairly fresh- not by any means tired- sound. The chorus, specifically the line“I see a Light in You” was repeated a tad too much for my liking but nonetheless did not scorch the song for me. Since the hook was lyrically very simple, there is not much to not understand about it. Contrary to my distastes, I once again had extreme appreciation for the positivity and overall flavor of the track. The thematic closure the song had was exceptional and truly brought cohesiveness to the entire project. This is truly feel good music, something Nance has seemingly mastered in Closed Caption Vol. 1: Motivation.
Review by Mtinezz