“Better Today” is the third single from Cloud Castle, the new rap project of Joshua "Fiji" Rehanek—better known as J. Fiji Azzam—the emcee and frontman of the Portland-based hip-hop group ADDverse Effects.
This most recent track indicates that Cloud Castle will not allow anyone to put the style of this project in a box and that some of the essence and eclectic nature that lives within ADDverse Effects will indeed show itself in the Cloud Castle world in the best of ways.
These early releases explore the use of different producers, which really exposes the dynamic of Cloud Castle’s rapping capabilities from both a creative and technical standpoint. “Better Today” is produced by fellow Portland musician and producer Alex Meltzer, half of the duo Korgy & Bass. Meltzer’s production is sample-based and hip-hop heavy with spacey Madlib-esque vibes that spread like butter for Cloud to spit his emotionally centered bars over—which is a contrast in sound and tone from his previous two releases.
It’s a vulnerable track from the talented emcee that speaks on depression, and it comes from a raw and real place as the result of a heavy year for Cloud, who lost his mentor, friend and ADDverse Effects bandmate Boyd Littell to a tragic accident last year. “Better Today” is a statement of hope; it is here to empower those struggling, including Cloud himself, and it's a celebration of the ups and downs. It’s a track to bob your head to and lift up your spirits. It strives to spread positivity and it achieves that without any rhetoric.