At last, MONOCHROME season is in full swing. On Friday (May 5), Highway delivered his new EP and took one step closer to his inevitable destiny as a new wave superstar.
Across 13 tracks, Monochrome highlights his captivating melodic vocals and fresh, genre-brending approach over a range of production, courtesy of close collaborators in XJay and Jetsonmade as well as Mike Hector, Simbo, Keysane, Bakkwoods, 1st Class, Akachi, Khris Riddick-Tynes and more.
Joined by legends only, the project includes just two features from Generation Now’s Seddy Hendrinx and a very notable joint with Ty Dolla $ign on “All U Needed.” In Highway style, the record’s unusual graffiti-based cover art was designed by internationally renowned artist and fellow Seattle-native CHITO – with the bonus surprise announcement of a Highway x CHITO apparel collab on the way.
Highway is truly a one-of-a-kind talent putting out some of the best new music anywhere. His category-defying style blends the best elements hip hop, R&B and the underground – sounding more polished than ever on Monochrome. He strikes the perfect chord to appeal to a broad audience at the interesection of many of the most compelling new sounds in music today.
From the dark and moody moments on the opening track “B&W” and “Sin City” with Jetsonmade, to the light and airy melodies on “Jet” and “Show Goes On,” the tape shows an incredible amount of range from the Seattle star. He elicits a full range of moods as he effortlessly flows between a spell-binding baritone and gentle falsetto — weaving together hypnotic, meandering flows that take unexpected turns yet seem to round out in the end.
One of the most memorable moments on Monochrome has to be “All U Needed,” an epic-length 4-minute-and-50 second showstopper that has Highway in full R&B mode as he goes toe-to-toe with Ty Dolla $ign – more than holding his own with his biggest ever feature from the modern day R&B titan.
Another standout would have to be the Bakkwoods-produced “And Go,” closing out the project with an almost Caribbean feel and once again pushing the boundaries of his style to make for one of the most radio-ready Highway tracks yet – hinting that there are plenty of new sounds to explore in the future beyond the Monochrome horizon.
The “on dat shit” video (directed by Noah So Cold) felt like it unlocked a different map of the same monochromatic black-and-white world Highway has built on previous singles in “Jet” and “Sin City.” These cuts were released in the lead up to the project – with a slight detour and splash of color for his noteworthy collab with fellow rising star Joony on “Bad Time.”
Highway also joined Our Generation Music’s Hakeem Rowe for one of his first sit-down interviews to shed light on his creative process and mysterious come-up. Monochrome is Highway’s first extended release since his self-titled, self-produced debut at Victor Victor in 2022 – featuring fan-favorites like “Next Weekend” and “Money Talk2.”
In Novemeber, he dropped an EP, Livin Like That EP, which included standouts “I Used To” and Destroy Lonely collab “By Myself,” a catchy upbeat new wave anthem which quickly rose to became his biggest song to date. Since then, Highway’s star has only risen with his first Rolling Loud appearance and a prominent feature in Supreme x THEM Magazine’s SS23 Campaign CHITO.
While he’s undoubtedly one of the underground’s most promising hidden gems, few artists are positioned for mainstream success like Highway. With the long-awaited Monochrome finally released, it will be exciting to watch new wave superfans convert upon discovering our generation’s best kept secret.
Listen to Highway’s ‘Monochrome’ below!