Not many artists today can claim to have landed a supporting slot with an industry legend for their first major live performance, but then most artists aren’t Jordan Cooper, AKA Coops. Performing live with Nas at the O2 Arena would be a career highlight for most any artist, but for Coops, it’s just the start. Even before dropping his High Focus debut ‘That Jazz’ in February 2018, there’s been a buzz around the North London rapper. Now, with the imminent arrival of his new LP No Brainer, the young emcee and producer is poised to justify that buzz and then some.

COOPS – THAT JAZZ (Prod. TALOS)

Listening to No Brainer, you come to realise that Coops is never going to be one to be pigeonholed. Across the 14 tracks, the 2013 winner of Choice FM’s Breakthrough Competition lays out a compelling argument for never playing to expectations. Tracks like ‘Heartbreaker’ borrow more from the new generation of U.S artists like Lil Yachty than anything this side of the pond. Simultaneously, numbers like ‘Bob Dylan’ and ‘Pass the Mic’ (the latter delivered with labelmates Fliptrix and Leaf Dog) are a quintessentially British animal, razor-sharp bars spat over a stripped-bare melody.

The laid-back drawl gives Coops an almost effortless air, but it would be a mistake to assume he’s just wandering through the hazy soundscapes with no game plan. Tracks like ‘Jetpack’ prove he can jump between lightly-baked mellow rhymes to rapid-fire bars at will, while numbers like ‘Mac N Cheese’ give some space to demonstrate his capacity for intricate wordplay.

COOPS – JETPACK (Prod. EAHWEE)

On first listen, Coops might sound like an unlikely addition to the High Focus canon, but his willingness to push styles puts him right alongside contemporaries like Octavian and Onoe Caponoe. The cosmic cover art showing the two sides of the brain makes for a fitting analogy to the album itself. Flitting between classic ‘90s-fused boom bap and contemporary, auto-tuned RnB bars, No Brainer showcases a versatility missing from a lot of modern artist’s skill set.

Of course, some hip hop purists might not be so receptive to the genre-hopping layout on No Brainer, and not everyone will appreciate Coops‘ lilting vocals on numbers like ‘L.O.V.E’, but that’s a burden every artist has to bear when they decide to colour outside the lines.

COOPS – BOB DYLAN (Prod. TALOS)

Just like the brain, the UK hip hop scene is a complex mechanism; different beliefs, dialects and processes constantly vying for supremacy. Listening to No Brainer, you come to realise that great things happen when you allow all those contradictory ideas to exist together as one.

No Brainer is out now on High Focus Records.

You can order No Brainer on vinyl/cd/tape here and on digital here.

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