Royce Da 5’9 – Layers Review

This album shows a lot of different ways to look at Royce Da 5’9 as an artist as well as a man. His clear ability as a lyricist as well as his story telling makes a great listen.

The production is fantastic as it is more background than trying to overpower the vocals. There are many different flavours throughout the tracks which helps give the right atmosphere for the message Royce is giving out. Maybe some more aggression would make a more balanced album but there is a great level of continuity as the album progresses.

The lyricism is incredible. Royce uses his unique flow and incredible ability to weave complex lyrical techniques into his stories to really make them stand out with detail. There is not a lot that can be improved on here as Royce has proved himself a veteran word smith with great verses for many years now.

The features are good and help show that others relate to his stories. Each puts in good effort to make their verses as good as Royce and to add to the listening experience. There is a fair balance of guests who sing and rap, but it is possible that some more interesting combinations with people further from the rap genre.

Overall, this is a great selection of songs to listen to. The skits can become tiresome after a few listens but these can mostly be lifted out as they are individual tracks. Royce might not have crafted a perfect classic, but it is definitely headed in that direction.

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Joell Ortiz – That’s Hip Hop Review

This project is a great representation of how Joell Ortiz feels about the state of New York hip hop as well as hip hop overall. The way he rhymes combined with the backing from Domingo shows he is still hungry and wants to push New York back towards the top.

The production is good as there is plenty of variation so that Joell can explore more subject matter. Domingo may not have a true signature sound but he does have a flavour that is present on each song. Once he develops a bit more, his beats will stand out more but this project shows he is no slouch.

The lyricism is incredible with Joell mixing a lot of different elements into very clever lines. He flexes his lyrical muscles and paints vivid pictures as well as using very witty lines to get his point across. There is little room for improvement on this side with his passion really driving the project forward.

The features add a lot to this project as they make up a large portion of the verses. Each brings a lot of effort but some sound more on point than others. None do a bad job but some review of who to use on each track for maximum effectiveness.

Overall, this project shows that Joell Ortiz is a force in hip hop and that he believes New York hip hop can be revived back to the glory days. he just needs more assistance from the rest of New York.