Jupiter's Diary: 7 Day Theory
By 2022, Rod Wave was not yet a household name, but he was one of the biggest rappers in the industry. The soul-trap innovator had released four top 10 albums, not to mention half a dozen hit mixtapes and loose singles. Melodic trap had also gained steam in mainstream music with contributions from acts like NoCap and Moneybagg Yo, and hip-hop audiences were increasingly craving more of what Rod was selling. The rapper’s LP from the summer of that year, the #1-charting Beautiful Mind, exhibited a new apex of pop influence for Rod, with glossy production, an inspirational bent, and a Jack Harlow feature. The esoterically titled eight-track project Jupiter’s Diary: 7 Day Theory followed the LP in November, just as Rod was setting out on a nationwide tour. Paring down his sonic palette from Beautiful Mind, the EP has an intimate quality, finding him at both his lowest and in a relatively zen mindset. The heartbroken “Love Overdose” is perhaps its darkest moment; here, Rod longs to substitute deep-seated romantic connection for Percocet, over a sparse soul-inflected beat. Musically, the project is still standard-issue Rod Wave in many ways. For instance, he demonstrates how emboldened he feels to integrate any odd or expensive sample that suits his or his producers’ fancy. In this case, the most daring choice is the flip of Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag” in “MJ Story,” which offers an inroad to an exploration of Rod’s frequent theme of misspent youth: “I was such a teenage dirtbag, I’ll break in yo’ shit/Young wild nigga on a rush to get rich.” Though the stakes were low for Jupiter, the victory-lap project landed in the album charts’ Top 10. With its neo-soul and gospel trappings, opener “Break My Heart” was its sole Hot 100 entry, maintaining a long tradition of Rod Wave songs with “heart” in the title racking up tens of millions of streams. In a way, the track stands as a perfect microcosm of all of Rod’s major lyrical and musical themes, covering depression, breakups, betrayal, and illicit youthful antics over a beat centered on vocal melismas and guitar riffing.