Uncommon Sense is the latest release from Just Viv. He was previously known as Rec but under this new alias and with this new EP, Just Viv invites us to expect something else- something different to what we might have heard from him before. Viv commented that Uncommon Sense is about “my wants versus my needs” and feeling conflicted about this in different aspects of life such as love, relationships and career vocation. Despite the EP’s introspective subject matter, Viv addresses a lot of relatable issues and he comes across as confident and purposeful in the process.
On the first track ‘Identity’, Viv’s renewed sense of self assurance is evident. It’s a chilled track that reflects on the motivations for his various actions in life, “I’d rather live my life than sit down and question”. It takes a positive stance on the need to value life and go after what you want. At the end of the song Viv states plainly, that he knows who he is as an artist: “found my sound- my lane”. He gives the listener an open invitation to join him on his journey to discovery and growth.
On the piano led track- ‘Generation IDGAF-Lift off’ Viv makes shrewd observations about growing up in today’s world. He notes that children are products of their time so older generations should take some responsibility for the world they created: “You’re the ones that raised us now you wanna moan”. He reasons that parents shouldn’t be dismissive of the fact that their children may want to become rappers or singers, because such aspirations are a result of the world of opportunity that essentially, they helped to create. Viv touches on this point again on ‘Trivial Pursuits’: “It’s protocol in this day and age to want what I just don’t need” and later on in ‘Upgrade your spirit’. He notes that living in an environment of such vast opportunity can be an obstacle in itself as it can sometimes foster a mentality of constant distraction and greed.
But Uncommon Sense is not painting a doom and gloom world view. There is an undercurrent of positivity flowing through the whole EP. The ‘Lift Off’ segment of ‘Generation IDGAF’ features a female vocalist singing “we’re the generation that’ll take it to the moon, take it to the stars”. A lot of the situations and issues presented are expressed with a kind of positive realisation. This works particularly well here and the input of female vocals adds a bit more texture and variety to the piece.
Viv gives an interesting insight into relationships from a male perspective. At the beginning of the EP on ‘Identity’ he warns: “a woman’s power is something you shouldn’t consider playing with” and he revisits this idea on the song, ‘All I Need’. This track is a neo- soul inspired hip hop song, which talks about the insecurities of being in a relationship when you doubt your partner’s commitment. Viv explains that sometimes a fear of appearing vulnerable is to blame for communication breakdowns: “Insecurities creep in so then he takes flight”. It’s rare and refreshing to hear an honest male take on a subject that is usually dominated by female perspectives.
Overall, the songs might be about feeling confused in certain situations, but Uncommon Sense is not about wallowing in indecision. It’s about being honest enough with yourself to explore the root of your angst. It’s about progression and having the presence of mind and strength of spirit to tackle life’s obstacles. The 90’s sounding, Hip Hop influenced production is ideal for the EP’s reflective overtone, but at times it slightly lacks layers and sound variety. However, Viv’s rhymes are unique and his delivery is textured and interesting. This is a good introduction to what Just Viv has to bring to the scene in future.
Reviewed by Bibi Cofie
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