June O aka Michael O’Connor, is a 17 year old Colombian/American from Texas. By shining light on his artistic prowess, his EP project “Variations” allows the performer to prove himself as both a singer and rapper. Here he provides various musical experiences for listeners as he moves from rap to rock soundscapes. June O steps outside of his comfort zone, and outside of the box as he experiments with different flows. The addition of alternative styles is a positive step for any upcoming musician’s career.
The presence of these stylistic changes on the EP makes a statement that features and guests are not required for a project that already offers an assortment of sounds. Opening track, “Pretty Little Fiend” quickly sets the pace and tone with new wave rap textures and high-pitched auto-tuned styled twists. A booming bottom end and skittering hi-hats add enchanting trap flavors to the mix.
“Skin” takes a ninety degree turn, with the incorporation of gritty guitars, emotional vocals and introspective rhyme schemes…with a surprise ending. “285” hits even harder than the previous track, dominated by a resonant piano and banging drums, while the guitar maintains its crunchiness.
June O’s vocals are highly expressive, and definitely in perfect pitch. The slow burning grit and sentiment he showcases on both the verse and chorus is appealing and impacting.
One thing that stands out about this EP, is June O’s perfect diction, whether he’s singing or rapping. You can make out almost every word – a rarity in the mumble rap era. “Hell on Earth” is a surefire gem, and the best track on the recording for me.
The jangly sound of the record is a brilliant blend of hip-hop, emo, and pop-rock, perfectly suited for this young rapper who is entirely invested in his emotions. Of course, the production is marvelous again.
Artists are becoming more alternative, genre-bending, and unconventional than ever before. The urban music scene has never been more diverse than it is right now. Sure, there are artists that sound alike and are riding the same trends.
But then there fresh, new, and very young up-and-comers like June O, who totally bend the rule-book so much, as to confuse about which genre of music they appropriately fit into. I’ve always thought genres didn’t make sense, but that’s truer now more than any other time in music.
Is June O aiming to be a rapper or a rock star? Does it even matter? In every way imaginable, he’s defying conventional characteristics on either side of the fence. However there never is there any confusion about where he is in any given moment.
June O really owns his style and the environment he thrusts the listener into. “Variations” is an intoxicating, compelling experience. The drums bang hard behind the warm and hazy instrumentation, while the guitars provide the vibe altering charge needed to give each song its edgy urgency. June O is an artist with a lot of potential, and the EP is an all-around tightly-knit work.