Late last week, Wondaland issued its first official non-single release in the form of The Eephus, a 6-track EP designed to showcase the labels impressive crop of new artists, which includes Jidenna, Deep Cotton, St. Beauty, and Roman GianArthur. For those not familiar with the reference in the title, an eephus is a baseball term for the unorthodoxly high-arcing, sluggishly slow pitch that typically catches most batters off guard. If youre fortunate enough to have witnessed a pitcher hurl an eephus toward the plate, you know that the ultra-rare pitch is truly a wondrous sight to behold. Similarly, the Wondaland family is defined by its artists uniquely non-conformist approach to songcraft. And like the elusive pitch that it draws inspiration from, The Eephus will unquestionably force listeners to take notice of the tremendousor awe-inspiring, according to Reidtalent on display.
Most of us are likely familiar with the EPs two lead singles that have circulated for a handful of months now: Jidennas debut single, the unforgettable Classic Man featuring GianArthur and Monaes hypnotically catchy Yoga, which also features a guest verse from Jidenna. Both tunes are expertly executed, undeniably infectious bangers and two of the strongest singles to emerge this year. Included as a bonus track, the solid remix of Classic Man featuring Kendrick Lamar turns the grit and swagger of the original up a few welcome notches.
The three less recognizable songs that round out the affair are admittedly a mixed bag. The opening track Lets Get Caught by the self-proclaimed punk prophets Deep Cotton is unquestionably the highlight of the three, due to its rollicking falsetto funk that contains echoes of the Purple One. The atmospheric, measured groove of Going Nowhere allows the St. Beauty duos soulful vocals to soar, making for rather pleasant fare. GianArthurs iKnow hints at the vocalists promise, but regrettably, the track is just too bland and ultimately falls a bit flat.
All in all, if theres one overarching drawback to The Eephus its that the whole affair is too abbreviated at 5 tracks plus the bonus remix, and its arguably buoyed by the more recognizable Classic Man and Yoga, both of which are now months old. Nevertheless, considering its primary purpose, the EP is a superb primer for the Wondaland collectives many talents and a harbinger of great sounds to come from the label. Moreover, as the Wondaland crews recent support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement in Philadelphia and Washington DC reinforces, its reassuring to know that they possesses spirit and substance to match their style and sophistication, all qualities that will serve them well as their respective careers take flight.
Notable Tracks: Classic Man (Remix) | Lets Get Caught | Yoga