Im Just Dane is a musician currently based in Los Angeles. While growing up in Chicago, he was influenced by artists like Michael Jackson, Usher and other classic R&B artists of the ’90s and 2000s. Im Just Dane’s signature style blends soul, blues and trap into what he calls “Contemporary R&B.” His latest project, an EP entitled “A Conduit of Light” is about his past struggles in life and how he has overcome them, while his current single release is “I Don’t Need’em”. In a world where genre lines are constantly collapsing, the walls between longtime radio companions, hip-hop and R&B, have been especially permeable. At this point you almost expect every singer to rap and every rapper to sing.
The latest torchbearer in a longstanding lineage. Im Just Dane is a gifted singer, capable of smooth ruminations, and he has stayed in that pocket more often than you’d expect for someone so clearly capable of crossing over into the new age of rap music.
On “I Don’t Need’em” ft. Don Chicas, he indulges in the ever-popular sing-speak, though he largely presents a true-blue R&B and Soul singer. Albeit one totally informed of today’s space-age urban music. From its first bars, the track establishes the synth as a central element, carrying both the sentiment and groove of the track.
The title track is structured around snatches of synths and guitars, jump-cut to fall over bar lines. It speaks to Im Just Dane’s ability to write melody that the instrument’s screaming breath and emotional weight persist throughout this fracturing production.
The melodic backbone alone is heart-stopping, without touching upon the artist’s use of his voice. And notwithstanding the crunching power of the angular beat, it’s through his voice that Im Just Dane’s really sets himself apart. Since the beginning of his career, he’s earned accurate comparisons to that legendary sensitive R&B baller sound.
But on “I Don’t Need’em” ft. Don Chicas his words have a raw poetry, as he throws a few heavy bars about being able to live without messy girls. Im Just Dane shows here that he is at his best when veering off-trend by modernizing the sort of tender R&B balladry few artists are attempting these days.
I wouldn’t want him to narrow his focus too much, but this seems to be his smartest path forward and a lane to call his own. With such an intense focus on haunting synths and bold lyricism, Im Just Dane has distanced himself even further from the garden variety of R&B artists by crystallizing exactly what it is that makes his brand of R&B so unique.
The record proves there is power in showcasing your truths. Im Just Dane’s raw and unsealed lyrics focus on his own experience and grind, while correlating it back to his listeners. Whether you’re in your bed re-evaluating your own life, or listening to the track in the car, he does a fantastic job weaving his experiences and emotions into the work, giving you a clear picture of his primary focus in life. “I Don’t Need’em” ft. Don Chicas picks its mood and rides it out from start to finish. It’s a necessary chapter in a thrilling story by Im Just Dane.