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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Fabolous And Jadakiss – Friday On Elm Street Review

This release shows that both artists and lyrically talented, but the theme of the album is never truly explored. Both artists have come a long way from their roots, but show they have never forgotten where they came from and how they have grown.

The production is great with the help of some of the friends they have picked up on the way. Every beat works very well to create the atmosphere needed to enhance the message of the songs. With the variation of messages possibly throwing off the cohesiveness of this project overall, the backings really help with the songs individually.

The lyricism is obviously incredible. Both Fabolous and Jadakiss are known for their wordplay and flow, and they both exploit those facts to cement their work here. However the title of this album does not carry throughout the project and detracts from what listeners think the album is about.

The features help throw something different in the mix but it does not always feel natural. While some are amazing and really click together, a few sound like they don’t really have the same level of chemistry. On the other hand, on a full listen through, the album plays great with the fresh voices.

Overall, this is a great release, even if it is not exactly what it is described to be. Fabolous and Jadakiss might not be so well known to the newer generation, but their skills are sharp as ever.

Meek Mill – Wins And Losses Review

This release is another showing of force from Meek Mill, with a renewed vigour for success. After a turbulent time, he has shown how he can pull it together to make good music.

The production is energetic and helps keep the pace as the project plays. Each song with similar atmospheres all have a lot of the same elements, but are varied enough that they don’t get confused for each other. Maybe something with more of an easy listening feel would help include another audience, but would not fit with Meek Mill’s delivery.

The lyricism is strong with plenty of wordplay and clever punchlines. With some poignant messages in the mix here, the impact is huge with the delivery and performance aspects boosting them. a softer delivery might show that Meek is expanding his repertoire, but having already added a lot to his arsenal here, it is not a big miss.

The features are great and help with the cohesiveness of this album. Each makes a great effort and shows their own skills, which always fit with the song they are on. A guest from further afield than the rap game would help make some more interesting moments, but this is a small price for the results displayed on this project.

Overall, this is an enjoyable album with some great moments and little filler. Meek Mill can hopefully take this and have a more stable year to come.

French Montana – Jungle Rules Review

This release is full of high energy and entertaining tracks that are enjoyable to listen to. However it feels odd in places where the use of auto-tune could be considered unnecessary.

The production is full of trap based beats and cleaned up street backings that help give the jungle vibe French is looking for. Each is strong as an instrumental but works very well with the rappers and singers over the top. Something a bit more experimental would show another aspect of French Montana, but the beat selection here has no real issues.

The lyricism is good with French Montana coming across as his most lyrically flexible self. His bars have some good wordplay and other devices in them, but can be repetitive in places, like the hooks. While he has definitely improved in this area, there is still room to improve further.

The features all help to increase the cohesiveness of this project and show thier own skills. In some cases, they can come across as very similar to what Montana is going for on the song as well with delivery but they never ruin the others performances. Something further form his own talents could help lift this guest selection, on the other hand these features are all effective on the songs they are on.

Overall, this is an achievement because there are a lot of good songs available on it. The problem is that if you cant sing, then don’t auto-tune everything because it can take from the real talent of the rhymes. Also, consolidate the track length to maximise effectiveness.

DJ Khaled – Grateful Review

This release is full of big names and big tracks that make this a very entertaining listen. With DJ Khaled acting more like a  on this album, only the best tracks make the cut, and this album proves it.

The production is varied but always interesting. Every beat is energetic and works very well with the artists chosen to work on it. There may be something for everyone, but most will appeal to any listener as they are all polished and work as a full listen through as well as individual songs.

The Features on here make this project such a success. All show great skill and have great chemistry with the other artists on the songs as well as DJ Khaled. It is possible that some guests further from his comfort zone may have made some more interesting moments, but DJ Khaled has chosen most of the biggest names in Hip Hop to be a part of this release, and they don’t disappoint.

Overall, this is great for those who want to stick on an album and not use the skip button at all, leaving it to play through. DJ Khaled continues to have enormous success with his albums, but it should be noted that it is mostly down to other artists work. Not to take from Khaled’s ability to bring artists together, but most of the entertainment value is down to the features and not him shouting out during the project.

Kodak Black – Painting Pictures Review

This release feels a little lazy and not as adult as it should have. The cover art is a good depiction of how this plays out, with a child’s view of themselves but without the finesse to make it work for the people viewing it.

The production is good, but nothing really stands out. The beats are all solid with a lot of potential, but they don’t leap out as the elite quality that is hoped for. Maybe something outside of Kodak Black’s comfort zone could help push him towards greatness.

The lyricism is alright, but gets very boring very quickly. Kodak Black sounds lazy through a lot of this and, even if that is the desired effect, the wordplay is not good enough to carry it along. More effort on both parts would help lift this album out of the murkiness that is the average.

The features are one of the strongest elements on this. With some top level guests, the verses and hooks provided are all of good substance and show that maybe Kodak Black is not as good as he might think. Looking to compete with his features more might make Kodak Black perform a little better.

Overall, this release was a bit of a let down and the title describes what the other children were doing. That may seem harsh, but a lot was expected of this album and it did not deliver.

Mike WiLL Made-It – Ransom 2 Review

This is an energetic release reminiscent of the first Ransom project, but there is a certain amount of formula that is clear in each of the tracks. While the production from Mike WiLL is fantastic, what each artists does with it all seems to lead down the same path, with a few exceptions.

The production is phenomenal, with Mike WiLL creating trap beats that may seem similar, but all have different aspects that makes each individual. In a few cases it seems like there is a base guideline rather than an organic blooming to his creative process, but it still yields some great results. Maybe seeing what he can do outside the trap sub-genre could be an interesting challenge for the producer.

The features on this project are exactly what you would expect to find on songs from a producer as big as Mike WiLL. A stream of A-List rappers as well as fresh up-and-comers helps show a great level of respect for the producer here. It is a shame that so many come from the same vein of writing and delivery, but individually, they all still have good performances.

Overall, this is another release from an exceptional producer that proves he deserves the money and respect he is given. Only time will tell if he will attempt to branch out and attempt to work with a wider pool of talent.