070 Shake conquers self-discovery, romantic troubles with You Can’t Kill Me

Sage Dunlap, Life & Arts Reporter

070 Shake’s sophomore album release captures the melodrama of young love and self-discovery in the 14-track project You Can’t Kill Me released June 3. The project — an impressive whirlwind of alternative hip-hop and electronic pop — unpacks the artist’s complicated feelings toward love and spirituality.

The New Jersey singer-songwriter made waves in hip-hop circles after signing to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music record label in 2017 and collaborating with West on his album ye. The 24-year-old musician has since garnered praise from some of music’s biggest names, featuring vocals on projects from both Madonna and Pusha T.

You Can’t Kill Me provides a fresh follow-up to 070 Shake’s 2020 project Modus Vivendi, which cemented the artist as an innovative, genre-defying musician. On this record, the artist continues a partnership with Mike Dean, a Grammy-winning producer and synth savant, to expand a futuristic, noisy production style. While You Can’t Kill Me did not offer a drastic sonic change from previous projects, the album took a more melodic vocal approach to communicate a broader range of emotion. 

The operatic album-opener “Web” entangles listeners with layered vocals, creating a captivating auditory chamber echoing 070 Shake’s conflicting feelings toward a romantic partner. The song kicks off with a drowned-out voice asking, “What is your favorite flower?” — a chant that continues throughout the track and serves as the melodic backing for slow, cathartic rapping. The textured mix of the repeated chant, spoken-word style rap and belting explodes in an emotive showcase of the artist’s vocal talent.

Each track blends into the next seamlessly, adding a satisfying cohesion to the project. Despite efforts to remain cohesive, 070 Shake created a nice sonic variety among tracks. While “Cocoon” offers a pulsating, rave-ready dance beat, “Wine & Spirits” incorporates acoustic guitar riffs that give the vocals a country-inspired edge. Closing track “Se Fue La Luz” leans more heavily on 070 Shake’s typical combination of auto-tune and layered electronic sounds, ending the project on a resolute, optimistic note with whimsical synths. Despite blending many genres on this album, all songs remain grounded in an ambient style that perfectly suits the expressive, meditative tone.  

The collection’s only collaboration, “Body,” features vocals from celebrated French pop singer-songwriter Christine and the Queens. The track, released ahead of the album as a single, stands as a high point on the project. Beginning with soft humming and hollow electronic glitches, the song unfolds into a dazzling confession of dissonance between mind and body between romantic partners. Additionally, the song underscores the album’s theme of prioritizing spiritual growth rather than physical measures of happiness.

“We’re so attached to this physical world. It makes us more susceptible to being hurt. You can’t kill me because I’m more than my body,” 070 Shake said of the album in a press release. 

Though not a tremendous change for 070 Shake’s catalog, You Can’t Kill Me marks a step in the right direction. Ethereal, atmospheric soundscapes on this project emphasize the theme of introspection while 070 Shake’s reputation as one of this generation’s most innovative singer-songwriters.

4 cocoons out of 5