A$AP Rocky – Testing Review

This is a release that is the definition of just okay. There are some good things about it but it has too many pitfalls to shine out.

The production is interesting as there is a lot of experimentation in the beats. However it doesn’t break any ground and a lot of them are overbearing in comparison the the rhymes. There are too many backings here that are too far from what people are aiming to hear that there are a lot of missable tracks.

The lyricism is good but there is not enough smart wordplay for it to bring this project out of the mud. What Rocky says entertaining, but his performance gets lost as his delivery is overpowered by the production. This needed stronger delivery to have pretty much any impact on the listener.

The features all do a good job of putting across their skills and are the highlights of these songs. All of their contributions are the highlights of the tracks they are on as well as the best thing about this album. Hopefully Rocky can take lessons from them and improve his own efforts.

Overall, this is a failure for Rocky, but he should still be commended for his efforts. It is important that efforts go into experimentation for progress to happen and there are bound to be mistakes along the way, but without mistakes there would be no lessons learned.

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Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy Review

This is a great album from Tyler that is fluid and doesn’t need defending like his previous releases. he shows not only great talent, but personal growth as well.

The production is not as aggressive as on his last album and with the softer tones comes a project that is much easier to listen to. The songs are softer but without losing all of their hardness and shock factor in some cases. This is a side of Tyler the world needed to see and help connect with him on a more human level, which is easier accomplished with this backdrop.

The lyricism is great with a lot of smart wordplay and a lot of clever rhymes. Tyler tones down his delivery but has built up more skill which helps him add to his descriptive ability that is another positive point of this project. With the growth shown from this, there are no issues with Tyler’s performance.

The features are well chosen and fit into their respective songs easily and without sounding forced. Each shows what they are capable of without over stepping and out shining the main artist. there is a good mix of singers with this album as well, which adds another level of entertainment to an already interesting release.

Overall, this is the best album that Tyler has released as it encompasses a wider audience without alienating so many. Hopefully he can carry this mentality forward.

JAY-Z – 4:44 Review

This release shows that it is possible for veterans to change up how they operate in the game and still be a success. JAY-Z sheds a little of his armour to shoe a more complex emotional side that resonates with the listener.

The production is much less in your face but without being less powerful. Each is different from the others but still projects the correct atmosphere to enhance the message of the artist. Maybe something with a little more flair could keep a little bit of the old Jay Z alive, but with the point of this album being to get rid of that alter ego, as shown by the first track, it was a good choice not to.

The lyricism is great with JAY-Z showing that while he may have grown as a person, he has kept all his rhyming abilities. Each bar impacts well with the audience, while containing plenty of smart wordplay to increase the descriptive power. Maybe something with more aggression could add another dimension to the album, but would not fit with the overall, running theme.

The features really help this to come to life with the voices of some of the people close to the main artist lending their help. Each helps enhance the song they are on while not detracting from Jay-Z’s performance. Some more guests could help to show his level of influence in the rap game, but Jay-Z has an agenda here and doesn’t allow others to jeopardise it.

Overall, this is a great piece of work to show where JAY-Z is in his life right now. There is always a chance for the resurrection of his old self, but hopefully he continues to move forward and doesn’t fall back.