Ya’ll better put your sunglasses on, because this Sunshine is coming in hot. And this Sunshine is the debut album from Red Bank NJ’s own rapper and producer, Inno¢ent. Inno¢ent has been making music and playing shows for about two years, skating in and out of different genres, and pulling inspiration from his influences; Denzel Curry, Charli XCX, and MF Doom. While being his most in-depth project, Sunshine incorporates underground hiphop instrumentals, along with potent lyricism, often discussing the lows of depression and substance abuse to the luminance of love, compassion and empathy.
The producer of this album, TOPH BEATS, is one of Inno¢ent’s regular collaborators. When asked about what the production influence draws on, TOPH explains, “from some of the greatest and most enigmatic producers of the past 20 years. The crate digging tendencies of Madlib and the enigmatic stylings of Flying Lotus are both present on this record. I wanted to give a classic dusty lo fi experience so Inno¢ent could perform both dexterous and lyrical flows as well as provide an emotional base where he could express his deepest emotions with ease.”
Wanna know what the sun sounds like? Well Inno¢ent begins with fluttering keys to the title track ‘Sunshine.’ This enticing introduction gives way for Inno¢ent to chopper in with the rays of his confidence, “I’m making moves like the sunrise/ And I’m shining bright” but ultimately ends the track with his charming and humble persona, “I really wanna be your friend so you can follow me.” His next track ‘KitKat Bars’ is unfortunately not an homage to Nestlé’s chocolate covered wafer confection. Instead this song has a laid back beat, while Inno¢ent flies through bars, touching on substance abuse, “I’ll relapse when we have the green that I hit fast I need that to fix tracks and put it on the scene/ while I get back and a-ttack.” The third track and the single of the album, ‘Fake,’ comes with a special treat, a music video! The video aesthetic tastes similarly to those of 100 Gecs, complete with an optical illusion background, and many duplicates of Inno¢ent flying in and out. This track is introspective, and the pairing of the video illustrates Inno¢ent’s desire to always challenge his listeners, and keep them on their toes. He writes in the caption of the YouTube link, “Not all that is fake is bad. Sometimes it means you must look closer for the truth.” And that wisdom is one to dwell on.
After the ‘Kids (Interlude)’ halfway through the album, it acts as a segue for a shift in mood. The following track, ‘Sunny D,’ reminisces life as a child, simpler times, and what the evolution of growing up truly is. His bars are weighted and focused, with direct rhymes and a fun flute embellishment. ‘Outerspace,’ has a lively piano introduction, the beat drops, and more staccato piano phases in and out, completing a more ‘spacey’ atmosphere. In the final tune, ‘Abyss,’ Inno¢ent spits, “I like to lay with the demons in my bed/ Put my head on their shoulder every night I’m feeling dead.” These bars explain more of the peace he’s made with his own demons from the earlier half of the album, and puts the whole piece together as a collective work. He even states, “I just want sun rays,” alluding to the idea that he does not want the darkness of the Abyss or Outerspace, depression or drugs, but craves this sunshine.
This record, while short, encapsulates important stories. Inno¢ent even explains that the title Sunshine, "is in reference to the ups and downs of life, just like how the sun rises and the sun sets.” The production is varied, and truly compliments each track. Inno¢ent has a way of always evolving, and knowing how to embed a piece of himself into every listener. But keep your eyes peeled, Inno¢ent is constantly working on new releases, as well as a merchandise drop.
LONG STORY SHORT: Inno¢ent’s flying bars, mixed with TOPH BEATS innovative production, creates an intriguing narrative that is Sunshine. You can’t listen to the actual sun, but this Sunshine will be music to your ears--literally.