Jay Rock – Redemption Review

This album is a step away from the more street rhymes and moves towards a more open view of Jay Rock. He shows personal growth and is willing to try new things here that could pay off in a big way.

The production is great with the right touches in place for the appropriate songs. With this being a softer album, there is a high level of polish throughout the release that makes a very cohesive listen. It might be nice to hear a little more aggression in the beats, but Jay Rock’s delivery takes care of that.

The lyricism is strong and there is an increase in diversity from Rock too. He plays around more with a little bit of auto tune, used very tastefully, and variation in flow to keep every song sounding fresh. Again, it is missing a little bit of an aggressive edge, but the personal growth on this out shines that fact.

The features all do fantastic work helping to make this album great. Each puts across their own talents and finds the right tone for every song. The only thing missing for a lot of listeners is the rest of the Top Dawg Entertainment label, but there are still brilliant moments from the ones on here to tide people over.

Overall, this is quietly phenomenal and should be highly commended. People seem to forget that Jay Rock was the first one to break into the mainstream from Top Dawg and should keep this in mind when he releases projects like this.

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Jay Rock – 90059 Review

This album has a great performance from Jay Rock, but his choice of production, while the beats are enjoyable, can make the songs seem quirky and difficult to follow. Individual good components, but not great put together.

The production is good with interesting sounds that make the beats interesting. Each beat is individual with not a lot of confusion between the songs. They could stand on thier own two feet a bit more rather than relying on the artist but at least it gives Jay Rock plenty of room to show what he can do.

The lyricism is good without being overly complicated or confusing. Jay Rock keeps it relatively straight forward, packing his rhymes with delivery and messages to keep the listener interested. Some more complexity could show that Jay Rock is still evolving as an artist, but what he does here shows that he is still making good music.

The features are great and compliment Jay Rock very well. Some showcase his label mates trying different techniques, while others do just enough to enhance Jay Rock on the tracks. There is a great blend of people for the eleven tracks on this album that help build the project.

Overall, this album shows that Jay Rock can hang out with the best of them when it comes to signiture songs, but may want ot look at making some more radio friendly type songs to gain more of  an audiance.

Ab-Soul – These Days … Review

This is a solid album. It may not be a stand out album of the year but it is more than solid project. Ab-Soul has done extremely well on this project to have not only a track for each group of Hip Hop fans, but a project that all of them can listen to all the way through.

Ab-Souls flow is a huge assest on these tracks as it makes him stand out amoung any features and makes each track easy listening. His lyricism is evident especially on the last track with his battle against Daylyt amd it makes for an enjoyable listen.

The production on the album does come across as very tailored to Ab-Souls style ad makes for a very cohesive project. However it is very easy to be carried away with it and lose track of what Ab-Soul is actually saying.

The only other flaw with the album is the change of production mid-way through the tracks which can lead to a jumbled listening experience if you only want to listen to the second half of a track.

Overall, this is a very good album for Hip Hop enthusiests to enjoy and a great album to boost TDEs standing as an independent powerhouse.

Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron Review

Oxymoron definitely has a street feel. The beat selection is great for Schoolboy Q’s sound and definitely has a grittier feel than the majority of radio stations would like, while the subject matter is far from made for Radio. The singles are ill-fitting to the album flow and it feels like the album loses momentum when you hit one of them. The singles are still great tracks but they don’t fit properly with the rest of the album.

It is a solid album for content although not ground-breaking, gang banging, drugs and sex are heavily featured. Not a lot that is overly sensitive but from listening to the whole thing you start to realise maybe this isn’t Schoolboy Q’s favourite area of music. Most if not all the tracks are head nodders and will keep you interested if you listen to the whole thing in one sitting. At 17 tracks, this is quite impressive as some albums tend to become repetitive and dull as you listen, but some well-placed features and interesting use of sounds keep the whole thing sounding new, even if it is a well-trodden path of subject matter.

Schoolboy Q seems to start out-of-place on a lot of tracks, until you let it run and find that his vocals fit in perfectly with the beat he has selected. He paints a vivid picture of sexual acts as well as the great deal he smokes up. On top of that, he has  a distinctive voice that makes him standout on these tracks and even others that he is featured on, for example see his features on Game’s OKE mixtape.

Overall, Oxymoron is a solid album for Schoolboy Q to put out, but it will be interesting to see where he will go on because more established artists than him have tried to keep going with the gangbanging angle and had their sales fall drastically, so unless he can make it his own, he may need to find a new way to tackle the music industry.

Oxymoron is available to purchase now on iTunes

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