Head in the Clouds II
For the second 88rising family album, the collective fills out their dreamy hip-hop and R&B with tasty excursions outside their comfort zone. The album is stacked with delightful moments that show 88rising’s evolution; Joji served as the mixtape’s executive producer, and many of the tracks bear his stylistic imprint. Rich Brian tones down his wild ways and opens up to K-pop hitmaker CHUNG HA (“These Nights”) as well as to Indonesian indie-folk artist NIKI (“Shouldn’t Couldn’t Wouldn’t”). Jackson Wang of GOT7 adds his perspective to the sequel to Stephanie Poetri’s viral hit “I Love You 3000.” There are nods to cloud rap (“Hopscotch”) and electro house (“Just Used Music Again”), while guests like Swae Lee, Major Lazer, Thai singer-songwriter Phum Viphurit, and GoldLink speak to 88’s widening range of influence. NIKI, however, benefits the most: Head in the Clouds II serves as her unofficial coming-out party with four tracks, including the subtle take on desire “Indigo.” Head in the Clouds II shows that 88rising is committed to Asian and Asian American representation, going hard while recognizing that cultural diversity in music and entertainment is still an ongoing fight.