New York based artist CJ Arey is the creator behind NO SHADE. What started out as a way to get through a breakup transformed into something bigger than he could have imagined. With his music, he goes against the notion that artists should stick within a particular genre by incorporating elements of various styles of rap, hip hop and rock, drawing from influences like Machine Gun Kelly, Pierce the Veil, Issues and nothing, nowhere. His debut EP “Broken Down” blends these musical styles in a way that draws in a wider audience, offering a space for people to freely connect with their feelings on a deeper level.
One of the most notable things found throughout the EP was his conscious effort to make each track unique to itself. Rather than stick to one genre or style, he manages to flow from hip hop to rock and then to rap, mixing these styles in ways that allow the songs to build off each other. “Comeback” starts the EP with a heavy guitar riff and incorporates other elements from various styles of rock music. “Alone” and “Fading Away” both feature hip hop styled beats layered with heavy guitar lines that make you want to dance, while “Fading Away” and “Suffice” give off more mosh pit, headbanging styled vibes.
My personal favorite was “Stay Too Long”. If I were to choose one song from the EP to represent the piece as a whole, it would be this song because it embodies the core styles and elements of NO SHADE. Combined with the deep cutting, relatable lyrics that resonate within the listener, this is where the essence of this artist can be found; his vulnerability and willingness to open up about his feelings are comforting because I think it reminds us to allow ourselves to fully experience and process what we’re feeling.
Like mentioned before, “Suffice” is the kind of song I imagine would open up a mosh pit at a show, so people can unleash their emotions while singing and headbanging along. When I listened to “Go” for the first time, I was reminded of the early years of bands like Bring Me The Horizon and Linkin Park, with their alternative and nu metal rock styles. Overall, the contrasting musical styles throughout each track were able to come together to bring the EP to a close.
As a fan of the artists who influenced his music, I was curious to see what his music would be like and it instantly drew me in. NO SHADE brought together the best musical elements from various genres and turned them into a unique sound of his own. The honesty and transparency of his lyrics allow him to create meaningful connections through his music. For fans of rock, hip-hop and rap alike, NO SHADE offers not only the perfect mix of those musical styles, but a reminder that sometimes we need to allow ourselves to open up to our own feelings in order to move forward.
Listen to “Broken Down” here!
Be sure to check out NO SHADE on his socials to see what he’s up to!
Review by: Cristina Herrera