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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KIDS SEE GHOSTS – KIDS SEE GHOSTS Review

This project is an intriguing listen as the two artists are both highly creative and have clear styles that blend well on this. However while this is a revitalizing project for Kid Cudi, Kanye West does not seem at his best.

The production is truly amazing, with each beat capturing the atmosphere of the tracks superbly. With each instrument being masterfully used to create the feeling needed deep inside the listener, there is no doubt that the beatsmiths put their best work into these offerings. It is a shame that they feel squandered with the vocals that are layed over the top.

The lyricism is strange, with a lot of clever wordplay used, but also some basic shouting and some just noise making. While both the main artists have some top verses given, for a short project they don’t fill out the songs and are happy to let the instrumentals run their course. Now while the beats are fantastic, it should also be important for the vocals to stand up and take some control as well as not be tampered with, which unfortunately they are.

The features are a mix of phenomenal and confusing. Some put in great work and create moments of greatness, while others seem to be barely contributing and leave a lot to be desired. Maybe some guests with a bit more punch could create some more memorable moments.

Overall, this project seems hit and miss, with more hits from half of the duo then the other. Let it be said that it can not be a great project when the best part of the whole thing is how Kid Cudi hums.

Kanye West – ye Review

This album is a bizarre mix of excentricity as Kanye tackles his own difficulties throughout last year. However there doesn’t appear to be any regret over things he said while lacking passion to fill out his own tracks.

The production is interesting, with a lot of creativity being shown through the use of unusual sounds and patterns. This level of variation helps keep the songs sounding fresh, but stops them feeling fluid as the album plays through. A but more cohesion would go a long way to helping this project as a whole.

The lyricism is, if you take how it was technically put together, great. There is some clever wordplay as well as his signature shout at the end of his bars. However the content leaves something to be desired where, when he tackles some of his more turbulent moments in the year, he doesn’t seem to apologize for anything he said that might have been upsetting or wrong, morally or otherwise. This detracts from what Kanye is saying and may put off some listeners all together.

The features all do a fantastic job of showing their own skills and how they work together with Kanye. Everyone contributes, even if it is just a tiny amount in the background, but it all helps make the songs as good as they are individually. If they were all named on the tracks could be a nice touch, but their contributions are not forgotten.

Overall, this is a nice collection of songs but it does not have the impact of a great album. Some of the songs needed a bit more Kanye on them ot be included on this Kanye album.

Black Thought – Streams Of Thought Vol 1 EP Review

This is an amazing EP released by one of the top lyricists out there. After his impressive ten minute freestyle, people have been craving more from this artist and this is as good as it gets.

The production, handled by 9th Wonder and the Soul Council, is incredible. There is plenty of variation and distinct sounds to make each beat stand out. Sometimes the beats are a little too strong and override the lyrics a little, but all of these backings could be used as instrumentals and still be a success.

The lyricism is, as expected, amazing. Black Thought is renowned for clever lines and he packs all of these songs with bars. Considering the messages throughout the release, this is no easy feat and Black Thought weaves through the wordplay masterfully.

The features all do a great job of showing their own skills while keeping the project cohesive. All three show good chemistry with Black Thought and assist in making the EP flow freely. It is also impressive that they all work with the content so well and can add their own experiences as well.

Overall, audiences everywhere are hoping that this EP is just a taste of what is to come, as the title suggests there are more volumes coming. Black Thought will hopefully take this momentum and continue to put out music that the world wants to hear.

Big Scoob – Duality Review

The title aptly prepares the listeners for the tracks on this release. Big Scoob is a man of two extremes with gritty street tracks and much softer tracks , but with no middle ground on the spectrum.

The production is fantastic with a lot of variation in atmosphere, depending on how he is trying to come across on that song. The aggression is clear when it needs to be as well as things getting more emotional as Scoob needs it to. Maybe something a little more radio ready while having a tough edge would give Scoob more exposure, but he does well over these beats.

The lyricism is great, with the fast pace helping to show how talented Scoob is. He uses wordplay and alliteration especially well and his tone giving his delivery an extra edge. There is also good variation with flow and some light attempts at singing to help give another dimension to Big Scoob.

The features all do a great job of adding their own skills to the project. Some help lend their talents to the hooks with their singing while others lend even more authenticity to the album. There are no issues with the guest selection here as all they do is build on this album.

Overall, this is a top release from a talented artist. Big Scoob has done very well crafting this and can hopefully capitalise off this and get more of the recognition that he deserves.

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.

Pusha T – DAYTONA Review

This is a strong set of tracks from the former member of Clipse with very few missteps. While only seven tracks long, all have plenty of merit to them.

The production is great, with a lot of unusual sounds being used effectively for a fresher performance. Each beat is individual and stands out not only from each other, but also has entertainment value on its own. There are no issues with these backings as they only enhance this project.

The lyricism is great, as Pusha T uses his unique delivery to boost the impact of his rhymes. All the songs are filled with wordplay as well as fantastic story telling. Maybe a little more variation in flow could add a little something more to this release, but these are still top performances.

The features do well to keep the voices fresh and add new perspectives and angles on the songs. Both show how talented they are and help the album feel a little more cohesive. Maybe seeing Pusha T work with a few others from the industry could be interesting, but the way T works on here, he doesn’t really need the help.

Overall, this is a top release from Pusha T. Hopefully he can continue with this success and continue to put out music of this caliber.