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Shehatesjacob impresses with genre-bending album “artificial flowers”

By Brad Kramer

Shehatesjacob is an artist who has consistently impressed me ever since I found his music at the beginning of last year. His versatility is unlike any other underground artist I’ve heard. The New Zealand artist has tackled every style from emo-rap to hyperpop to guitar ballads—even his own spin on drill music—his approach to music isn’t bound by genre at all.I can always count on Jacob to deliver something catchy and emotive, and his new album artificial flowers doesn’t disappoint. 

The title track sees him stepping even further out of his comfort zone, experimenting with an angsty indie rock sound and absolutely killing it. The theme of the record starts to take shape here too. He repeats on the hook, “Her love is artificial flowers, she always knows how to get into my head.” All throughout the record he’s fed up with the shallow connections he seems to make with people, and that’s what the idea of artificial flowers is meant to symbolize. 

But he doesn’t spend the whole record sulking over failed relationships like you may expect. Songs like “freaky” and “moshpit” are some of the most energetic tracks I’ve ever heard from him. He forgoes his melodic delivery on “freaky” in exchange for some husky-voiced raps over retro-style brass that immediately catches your ear. Then he expands even further on “moshpit,” rapping over steady drums and a Japanese city-pop sample—there’s almost no sound that Jacob won’t try. I always knew he had a strong ear for melodic songs, but these two songs prove he’s got some untapped potential as a rapper too. 

I also have to mention “stuck at home,” Jacob’s collaboration with fellow underground artist Lilbubblegxm. It was the album’s lone single: a slick hyperpop song inspired by life during New Zealand’s recent COVID-19 outbreak this past August. The flows are downtrodden and the lyrics are lonely, but the beat is full of lively, digital sounds that make for a perfect dichotomy. It’s the perfect song to soundtrack the virtual existence we’ve all been subject to ever since we went into lockdown. 

Listening to this album made it hard for me to believe that Jacob is just starting out as an artist. This is only his 3rd project, but it’s clear he’s got something special. All of these songs are catchy, and he holds his own with every new sound he tries. Be sure to check out artificial flowers by Shehatesjacob below.