The project as a whole I believe was quite inspirational and telling of Nance’s artistry and vision as a hip-hop artist. The project was cohesive enough to feel like it was part of the whole, without a doubt, but different enough for each track to be interesting, engaging, and not sound recycled or vanilla. Each track has its own message that was clearly defined and different than the others. The same can be spoken for each record musically. Each instrumental had an underlying familiarity that threaded through each song, however each was creative and unique. This is a struggle for many projects. Many artists, small scale or a-list, can fall into the trap of making a record sound unfocused or way too similar with each other.
Review by Mtinezz
01. Stretch Review
Closed Caption Volume 3 begins with “Stretch” a track which opens by boasting of more organic instruments, something we haven’t seen much of in the Closed Caption series. A single coiled electric guitar drives the instrumental beat, accented by string ensemble ostinatos. More guitars and strings enter in, followed by more familiar hip-hop drum samples. Joe Nance opens with the line “No sleep for the ambitious…” Musically, “Stretch” continues to build, dramatically introducing more layers of strings as Nance delivers an inspirational message on working hard and chasing your dreams. The track breathes nicely- and Nance falls to and from rapping and carrying smooth-toned melodies that are very pleasing to the ear. Nance’s adlibs on this track are worth noting as well, as they clearly were well thought-out and well executed, especially in the hook. As the record progresses, Nance seems to speak on introspective struggles. “All this pressure on my mind lately, got my mind hazy, it gets heavy just to hold it in…” suggests Nance is saying many of the struggles one may experience in their ambitious pursuit of their calling will happen inside the mind. In other words, much of the fight is in one’s own head, “Stretch” encourages not only perseverance through these internal battles and a willingness to overcome them, but also an open mind to these struggles as they ‘stretch’, and grow as a person. Nance seems to be speaking to the younger audience, something that is not unpopular for the rapper. The last verse Nance makes most personal to himself, inviting obstacles to come to him, fueled by a desire to become better and grow. Nance’s execution on “Stretch” was excellent and very cohesive with what we’ve heard on Closed Caption Vol. 1 and 2.
Review by Mtinezz
02. Mood Review
Track 2, “Mood” begins with an 808 style kit, vocal sampling and rhythmic synthesizers. Atmospheric pads fill the background. Later, the instrumental introduces even more atmospheric synths, definitely setting a ‘mood’ and portraying a sound that has been a common denominator in much of Nance’s tracks: colorful, dramatic, thoughtful instrumentation paired with sampled drums often followed by a double-time, old-school hip hop drum pattern. The way these tracks are built, suggest that they would be serious contenders to be used as soundtracks for motion pictures or documentaries. “Mood” continues as Nance enters in fairly quickly only after the first few bars. Given the title, context, and layout of the song, I think I would’ve prefered a bit of a longer, more patient musical introduction. Nonetheless, the song flows well and again, is excellently produced. “Mood’s” subject matter did come across as a bit broad and a bit ambiguous to me. Whether this was intentional or not, this was cohesive with the tracks inherent atmospheric feel. “Above and beyond to set the mood, feelin’ the vibe, the gratitude..” are the opening lines to the hook- which at first I felt was a bit weak but grew on me a bit as the track progressed. Later into the track I also found myself very much appreciating the instrumental. This is possibly the most detail oriented, well produced beat I’ve heard from Nance. Perhaps the more or less vague lyricism works well paired with the intricate beat. Overall, my feelings about the track were definitely more positive the more I listened to the song. In conclusion, however, I did wish that the track was longer. An easy way to do this would’ve been to be more patient with the track in the introduction and even the conclusion.
Review by Mtinezz
03. Forever Review
The third installment of the Closed Caption series wraps up with “Forever,” an absolute banger. Off the bat, this may be my favorite track Nance has done to date. An exremely catchy hook, an excellent vocal performance, huge drums, excellently crafted synths sounds- “Forever” is a very accessible track and should be treated as such- if there is a single in the Closed Caption series it should certainly, without a doubt be this one. “Forever” is a song about Nance’s commitment to his passion- a very familiar topic amongst rappers; “My passion for this craft lasts forever and a day.” The rapper speaks about his relentless ambition and his to-the-point love for his craft in a remarkably pleasant way. Nance takes it further and pays dues to his family, friends, and his team that support him. What separates Joe Nance from other rappers is not only his “wisdom rapping”- but also his very vocal dedication to working hard while remaining humble. “Forever” well encompasses what Nance is all about in a very provocative and consumable way. Top to bottom, the track is extremely strong. From subject matter, production, hooky-ness, artistry- “Forever” ends Close Caption Volume 3 in a truly epic way.
Review by Mtinezz