Jake Haze -1985

1985 is a concept album from artist Jake Haze (often stylized as “JKHZ”). This musically and intellectually ambitious release stands as Haze’s 8th studio album. Just from glancing at the title, one might assume that this was a simple retro 80’s nostalgia album. However, 1985 is much more advanced than that. This thematically unique collection is centered around the political scandals involving the country of Honduras.

Peppered with occasional media samples, the songs blend elements of groovy hip hop and robust beats with cultural commentary. You get the idea pretty quickly, with titles like Imported Everything and American Dreams, and the attention-grabbing intro itself is one of my favorite jams. Featuring a plethora of guest artists, the quality and vibe remain consistent on the album throughout, though it’s worth noting that some tracks (such as the catchy banger, Ode to the Federales) are actually in Spanish.

The performances are lively and the production is crisp. Clocking in at 17 songs, 1985 is rich with lyrical content. There’s just so much substance here, enhanced by the auto-biographical anecdotes in the narrative and a personal touch. In addition to appreciating the socio-political undertones and being impressed by the music, I have to admit that I actually learned more about Honduras than I knew before listening. So it also offers an educational experience, the kind you can’t get in school.

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