Jeremy Keys | by Lauren Lyles | courtesy of the artist
Jeremy Keys makes his chilled-out solo debut on Displaced Vol. 1
After almost a decade of working with the Philly hip-hop collective, Hardwork Movement, Jeremy Keys is breaking out on his own with his new project Keys & The Never Before. Not straying too far from his roots, his latest ep Displaced: Vol. 1 blends aspects of the group’s signature style with the sounds he’s always wanted to experiment with, he said. Some of the members from the collective, including RB Ricks, even make appearances on the release. The ep will be out on August 27 and includes the single “Prefontaine,” which he dropped back in May.
A smooth blend of R&B and hip-hop, Key’s voice glides over the mellow beats he makes. Leading with the atmospheric instrumental track, “ASMR,” he makes you feel like you’re floating. With airy instrumentation, the whole ep has a certain weightless quality. Even as he sings about big dreams and reaching for a better life like on “Something More,” it’s always delivered in a certain-chilled out way. Flashing his effortless flow on “Prefontaine,” his words possess the same fluidity as water. Thematically the ep explores the discomfort of feeling like an outsider. Each song focuses on a different character who’s either chasing something they think will heal them or trying to run from something they can’t escape.
“The cover photo is actually of this stuffed bear that was popping up on stoops in my old neighborhood at 20th and Spruce. Every time it popped up on another person’s stoop it had a different item added to it. I thought that was a nice reflection, this old beat-up bear that people kept adding pieces to. It’s a physical manifestation of the shit we go through and how it can change us for the better,” Keys said.
You can stream the ep below.