I wrote this while making the master tape for this release – it’s perhaps a bit rushed, but I like these that way. Off-the-cuff reactions to full albums, which I’ve been spending months with, but am excited for the rest of the world to finally hear!
Sashathem came to me via a cold email submission – I listened to the record right away and was immediately taken by how great the production and songwriting was, but also confused as to why somebody would want my label to release a rap tape – since we hadn’t even come close to the genre at that point. As I listened more and the conversations continued, it just felt like a more and more perfect pairing, and I’m so excited to get to help share this with the world.
As we start the tape with “Fragile,” Sasha presents the setting, building the castle, telling the tragic story the brings us to the current state: this house is too fragile. Be careful, tread lightly, watch your back. Soon, “Glass House” lays right in with a heavy groove, a claustrophobic confession of self-doubt and second-guessing over a watery pulse, a reminder to watch your step.
‘I can’t see past myself, I can no longer breathe, my head won’t wrap around these thoughts inside of me”
Are the warnings for the listener, or for Sashathemself?
Let’s not ignore the subtle sax that provides a seque into sasha’s refrain of ‘I can not, I can not, I can not…’ as a final reminder of that fragility. Time to give it a rest – but where do you run when the fun is up? Sasha chases their own shadow, desperate to make good on their own promises, and maybe not be so hard on themselves.
Don’t break that glass house. (And the beats here are so subtle and tight with some super smart production.)
“She Don’t Get It” should be on the radio, it’s a summer jam, no question. Vocal acrobatics and shimmery samples all around, with a bounce to shake it to. But damn, this is a sad story, it’s a breakup song, right? But Sasha if she didn’t see you, she definitely had to go. By the end, Sasha is reborn, and the next track, the single, “Hellraiser,” tells us how it is: Sasha comes out swinging, with a declaration of independance, drawing a line in the sand and showing us exactly who they’ve become. Suddenly powerful, a true hellraiser, finally stepping into their real self and showing that to the world. And under all that, a hell of a hot track.
Sliding into side B with a hazy, sleepy groove – the phone wakes us up, Sasha’s back to confessional mode, even a hellraiser isn’t always gonna be the strongest/we’ve all got weak moments
‘I need more time, but everybody dies young’
Sasha’s burning some sage, we could use some spiritual cleansing after a little darkness. The tone here is different, not quite a party jam but it has its moments, Sasha’s searching for something, a way to break the tension and get grounded. The music is seeking too, dipping its toes into different feels and movements and grooves, but too disjointed to really take off and get too comfortable.
“Divine” is a referential, poetic twisting of samples and minimal beats, we’re coming thru the other side of something with Sasha, bringing a sort of heavy romanticism that’s been hiding just in the shadows of the album so far, but we still can’t settle, there’s more work to do.
“I learned what real love could look like”
We get one of the record’s most vulnerable moments, all with a sweet, retro hook you can slow dance to.
By “Stay” we start to bounce – if we’re in some sort of love story, things seem to be cruising along and picking up speed – the frantic early days of infatuation are such a distinct thing, bordering on obsession, and damn that’s a pure and great feeling.
Finally, we’ve made it thru, and “Exhale” is a meditation, an entry in the gratitude journal, a reckoning with the world of this record we’ve been living in. Sasha, we thank the stars that you’re still here too. Let’s go.