When I first listened to this Jim Swim project, I wasn’t sure if this was all done by one creative or if there were multiple people — a rapper/singer just going over some instrumental tracks. I’ve heard a single or so here and there, but not enough to know his style and what he does musically overall. So I played this project once, then worked through his other releases on Spotify, then made my way back into the Softee Boy EP.
The first song I listened to off of Softee Boy was “Big Homie Told Me a Lie.” It opens up with a real catchy hook that I’ve definitely replayed for about a week now. I always love to hear choruses that have a single vocal line that needs no harmony. The production on the project overall is very well put together. As seen on his social media, Jim Swim is a multi-instrumentalist adept at guitar, bass and keys, as well as working with an MPC. You can definitely see the time and effort he puts into his art.
The intro track gives a quick foundation for what can be expected on this release. It starts with a rap flow with some nice lyrical imagery, setting a scene and not letting up until he comes to his harmonized vocal exit.
My favorite is “Embodied,” a track with a mellow, calming vibe that has an almost familiar opening tune in the production. I can’t quite put my finger on what it reminds me of. The intro seems like it has a clock ticking, which I would assume he dropped into the song to complement his reminiscing lyrics.
His melodic flow is flavorful on the song “All New (Energy).” I especially love this one because I can imagine it being performed live in a venue, with the crowd singing the words as loud as they can. He places a few musical breakdown sections in the song before he comes full energy with one last quick rap verse that accelerates up until the last chorus. The tune finishes out with a just-right vibe.
There’s a mainstream sound on Softee Boy that somewhat reminds me of songs you hear from Mike Posner projects. It’s got strong, catchy hooks with backing tracks and live instrumentation that have very melodic R&B/hip-hop/pop vibes meshing in the best ways. The project title track “Softee Boy” is a great example of the lyrical substance across the board.
This is something I could definitely throw on at home while cleaning, playing video games or heading out on a trip. I’ll always love the one-person-wrecking-crew-type music artists. I know a few, and they always seem to have their own distinct style.
Jim Swim is an underrated artist. Iowa is lucky to have him.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 289.