070 Shake: You Can’t Kill Me review – an understated sequel to Modus Vivendi | Tap

WWith her high-pitched voice, Kanye West partner Danielle Balbuena, AKA 070 Shake, has the talent to invest in productions with boundless freedom. She cracks West’s 2018 song Ghost Town wide open with a longing, melodic nostalgia, and on her 2020 debut Way of lifethe New Jersey-born rapper buzzes through everything from lost synth pop to bass-heavy rhythm.

On her second album You can’t kill me, Balbuena takes a more understated tack, with mixed results. Highlights come when her melismatic range comes to the fore: building harmonies over opener Web’s rhythmic chants; performing electronically processed runs over the thump of history; exposé on the sensuality of a woman’s dress on Blue Velvet. But on the record’s 14 tracks, there are too many moments where Balbuena has a mediocre mumble and stumbles over her melodies. Come Back Home’s synth-powered crescendo dominates its quiet chorus; The body struggles to inject a mid-tempo feel with vibrancy; and Cocoon promises a dancefloor hedonism, but Balbuena’s intimate delivery falters.

There are flashes of the relentless musicianship that made her an exciting prospect, but the album falls short. Perhaps hampered by a push to steer her sound in a new direction, Balbuena loses the vitality that set her apart in the first place.

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