Stunning us with its clandestine intricacies but saving a lot of its melodic warmth for a climactic chorus, the instrumental foundations of Wingman’s new single “Crash Land” are straight electronica more than they are hip-hop. Listen closely enough and you’ll start to feel the influence of atmospheric minimalism on this young man’s sound where it would seem such a lofty aesthetic would have no business in the first place, but that isn’t the only surprise you’re in for when spinning the latest cut bearing his moniker in the byline. “Crash Land” has quite a few quirks that extend well beyond the instrumental faceting it sports, chief among them the shockingly emotional disposition of its vocalist.
Wingman sets up the narrative here poetically as if to intentionally drive home the metaphorical nature of his words before we ever have a chance to process their sentiments, but what he unleashes from behind the mic is so much blunter than any rhythm or rhyme could brace us for. He isn’t flexing for the sake of sounding like a brawny crossover pop artist in this performance; he’s got something he wants to do with all of this muscle, and you can’t argue that when looking at the stacked document produced in this single.
The synth parts are arguably as big and out of control as the vocal could have been in, say, a live performance of “Crash Land” in front of a sea of festival-goers. It works out remarkably well for Wingman, whose stylistic sensibilities would strongly imply that he does better with a lot of compositional gusto behind him than he does with the barebones look some of his contemporaries favor. There are some emo influences in his sound that get a slice of the spotlight in this setting that they wouldn’t in others, and because of the arrangement, Wingman can cling to the bassline in this song for dear life as opposed to just using it to set the beat at the start of the track. He’s communicating through so much more than his words, and that’s not as common as I’d like it to be in today’s indie hip-hop community.
There aren’t a lot of melodic rappers with the capabilities to satisfy a pop audience that Wingman has in his studio content, and if he’s able to continue refining his skills, I believe the underground won’t be able to contain him for very much longer. His profile is compositionally formidable and detail-focused at a time that has seen the exact opposite becoming the standard in and out of hip-hop, and as long as he steers clear of the overambitious traits some of the players I’ve been listening to have adopted out of desperation for fame, I don’t see why he won’t have a place in the big picture for quite some time to come. “Crash Land” could be a launchpad for a lot of big stuff in this young man’s career, and with the right radio exposure, I think it will be.