If there is any element more compelling for an artist to possess, excluding obvious ones like image, lyrics, or flow, the voice of an artist can elevate a project to a whole other level. There are a handful of artists whose voices just impact the tone or sound of a track by sheer virtue of their voices being to unique and memorable, whether it’s an incredibly deep and gruff voice carrying the mood on a romantic track a la Barry White or a shrill energetic voice leading the charge to a drug addled anthem a la Danny Brown, vocal inflection and pitch hammer home an already memorable track.

Juno’s voice and flow is something nostalgic and mystifying, falling somewhere in the middle of supernatural and timeless yet villainous and gentle at the same time. In no way am I making comparisons to the soon to be mentioned artists because that then dilutes the legacy of each, stripping them of the lanes they have paved or will paved, but for the sake of full transparency it’s worth noting Juno has a voice that to my mind is reminiscent of the darker sides of Bone Thugs via Bizzy Bone as well as the more high octane B Real circa Cypress Hill.

Juno utilizes his vocal talent in a way that acts as a chilling instrument all it’s own, and when coupled with the interesting and versatile production choices on the tracks in 4ML.S.AL, there exists this perfect harmony that lends itself to memorable tracks. Thematically, this project is a beautiful mix of macabre and dark introspection. The first indication of this is the cover art, which features deceased Rocky Dennis with an upside down cross. While exhibiting moments of somber melodies and vocals, it still has this gripping chip on the shoulder.

The first highlight of the project is the third track “CUP OF NOODLE…”. This self produced track features glimmery, yet gloomy keyboard chords, and the first gripping instance of the bouncy, rhythmic, brisk cadence of Juno’s voice and flow.

I laugh and they do too voices in my room all around me doing voodoo…

This track has this captivating balance of Juno’s villainous, ethereal double time flow, slowing down during bars that are darker in mood and leave you hanging on to the hard delivered line. The peaks and valleys of Juno’s dynamic flow contrasts well with this single key note that gleams throughout the course of the track. Supplementing the interesting sound of Juno’s voice and rapping prowess is his knack for hardcore influenced growling/screams that add an edge of moody aggression that is apparent throughout the tape.

The next highlight is the subsequent track “PLAYER ONE”. Produced by Apollo Young, the bulk of the instrumental is a minimalistic, looped piano melody that lead the barrage of simple drum patterns. It’s reminiscent of the eerie toy music boxes, completely fitting of Juno’s sound. As for lyrics, Juno spits lines explicit of a drug addled, bleak outlook of life, replete with references to what seems to be death and overdose, or at the very least sorrow and surrender.

Rest in peace to Nipsey, rest in peace to Mac, I put on GO:OD AM, and then i fade to black take me back…

This requiem is the first instance of death on the track, transitioning to more personal, extremely catchy and memorable lines:

…I need some muddy now because these drugs ain’t cheap and I’m about to drown, I’m swimming while I sleep… The reaper come and take me but no one hear a peep…

Transitioning from this dark side of personal vulnerability, Juno then picks up aggression again in the lines proceeding:

I take the knife up out my back and now you gettin’ cut up. They don’t shut up Imma run up with the fucking sun up. I’m on so many drugs, my moms surprised now that her son’s up in the morning. I’m sorry but this life is boring. …Pull up with a boat on me and I still might drown…

All of these lines encapsulate a very open, personal, and destructive side of Juno that equally juxtaposes an attitude of recklessness and exuberant confidence.

The third highlight off this tape is the very downtrodden, most sonically interesting and startling track “MANAZOOMA”. This other self produced track features a very sobering, morose melody with slow tempoed piano chord and a lingering synth, followed by dense clap patterns and lengthy low pass rumbling. Juno’s closing track is a great reflection of the title of the project, and is a ballad expressive of heart spilling lyrics and a great exhibition of Juno’s shrill, ear catching voice as well his very gritty, boisterous emotional growling.

I’m a loner, I’m a stoner, I’m a lowlife (yeah I got no life). I call and no one pick the phone up… I’m always alone… They like wake up Jacob it’s time to get up but I do not want to… Juno what’s the problem? I don’t really wanna say now…

These opening lines for the first half of the track really act as a rising tension to fervent and lugubrious climax, culminating in very scathing lines:

Most of em fishy now like tuna rolls, when I fucking die don’t have my ass a funeral! I hate to say okay! (x 8)

Juno’s rage and sorrow fumes through these closing lines, which lead directly into a change of vocal inflection with Juno just talking on the track to the audience, giving a sullen reminder to the audience.

That’s the only thing that’s guaranteed in this fucking life is death… RIP Rocky, RIP Juno and shit, I’m still alive but you know what I’m saying, I may as well be dead.

This album is a deceptively blue, and haunting project that leaves you both feeling energized and empty, in a way that leads to think and reflect to fill this newfound void. Juno as an artist has a very enrapturing tone and style that is both catchy and chilling, as well as possessing this sound that is both new and nostalgic. It’s an easy (as in time spent listening) listen at only six tracks, but all six are dense and nutrient.