For a long time, you wouldn’t find much from Jean Deaux on Apple Music or Spotify — just a few singles and an assortment of songs from other Chicago artists that she’s been featured on.
Most of her catalog is on Soundcloud, with her oldest song there dating back seven years. Her latest EP, Krash, is the first of her full projects on major streaming services. It’s safe to say Deaux is expanding.
On features like Smino’s “Amphetamine,” Deaux has a tendency to dominate with her flow, her lyrics and the nuances of her style. On her own, the Chicago artist is an even bigger force to be reckoned with. Her soft and innocent voice gives her an unassuming aura, but her music is boisterous and unique.
Krash begins with a slow pulse. It’s dreamlike and easygoing, with gentle chords and strings on the Saba-produced “Way Out.” The songs have extreme fluidity and graduate to a subtle bounce on “Say Less.”
Then, a skit: a group of women are trying to get into a club that’s at capacity. The doormen are being rude, so the women are loud and cursing, saying Rudy will beat them up. The bouncers loosen up, and the grumblings of funk creep in and take over, transitioning into the uptempo “Energy / Who U?”
“I don't like your energy, you don't have to see it that way/ You gonna have to keep the peace, or you gonna have to clear my space,” Deaux says on the hook.
Deaux is mostly singing at you, but should she need to drive home a point she may switch to rapping or something in-between, more of a Drake-like melodic talking.
Most of the rapping on Krash comes in the second half of the project — after the crash that gives the EP its title. The lightness becomes darker with heavier bass and Deaux becomes more boastful.
“I ball cause I’m young/ Bitch you can’t tame me, keep me off your tongue,” she says on the titular track.
Then, on the heavy-metal “Code,” Deaux says “All these bitches mediocre if you ask me/ Wasn't really an athlete, making the game attract me.”
Deaux has a certain self-confidence that comes through in these lyrics despite her almost-youthful sound. She is self-assured that she’s good and doesn’t need others to know that — her talent speaks for itself.
In nine songs, Deaux is able to showcase a wide range of styles and sounds with both focus and versatility Krash progresses from soft to abrasive, but still manages to be a cohesive project as a whole.
By the end of the project, when she and Arkansas rapper Kari Faux team up for “Work 4 Me” (which noticeably odes to one of Deaux’s inspirations, Missy Elliott), it feels as though she has made a reintroduction of herself.