070 Shake is really ahead of her time with Modus Vivendi and that’s probably on purpose. Its sound and execution live on another planet, somewhere far away from here — but there is hope for understanding in the New Jersey native’s tone of delivery.
Coming off outstanding guest appearances on Kanye West’s Ye cuts “Ghost Town” and “Violent Crimes,” a Pusha T Daytona feature, as well as an appearance on Nas’ Nasir in 2018, there have been great expectations for the 22-year-old. 2018 was also the year she delivered her GOOD Music debut EP Glitter and in 2019, she performed at Coachella.
Though it’s said Shake is a hip-hop artist, it’s best to not box her into any particular category to truly understand what type of artist she is, as she really shows off her range freely on Modus Vivendi. The album’s title means “way of life” in Latin and this seems to be Shake’s attempt to show the world a different musical perspective, one that might become the status quo of a genreless future.
There is joy in listening to the thrilling highs and lows of every track. “Morrow” is Modus Vivendi’s ’80s pop-synth trip starter, while “Rocketship” asserts that this might be a good trip. “Under The Moon” is upbeat and enchants while the words she sings are affirmations of the thing she wants most — to get high. While on Shake’s journey, it is “Rocketship” and “Guilty Conscious” that stand out the most. “Rocketship” satisfies a taste for trap and “Guilty Conscious” is a loving R&B song. It’s very easy to get sucked into the essence of both before being reminded that 070 Shake is the captain and the journey is in her hands.
Each song oscillates between highs and lows, such as the transition from “Rocketship” to the addictively mellow “Divorce,” which offers a timely break before Shake takes the listener to the grungiest part of Modus Vivendi, the bleak “The Pines.” The placement of “Guilty Consciousness,” after “The Pines,” again, brings the listener to a more contemplative moment before bringing them up again, but not so low that it kills the mood and momentum completely.
Though “Nice To Have” presents a rare superfluous moment on the record, by the time Modus Vivendi’s reaches its destination with “Terminal B” and “Flight319,” the lasting impression is that Shake could occupy this space indefinitely. Overall, 070 Shake leaves plenty of room to grow and her sound can go anywhere as Modus Vivendi is unapologetic and chaotically smooth. This project is wholly Kid Cudi-inspired somewhere between Ye’s 808s And Heartbreaks and Yeezus, only with her unique spin. Try not to label Shake because as she convincingly professes on “Flight319,” for those who stuck around until the end, she’s “gone like an astronaut.”
Modus Vivendi is out now on Getting Out Our Dreams/Def Jam. Get it here.