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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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.

French Montana – Mac & Cheese 4 Review

This project is good, fun and energetic which is sometimes what the audience needs. There are a few emotional songs, but Montana remains in his comfort zone for the majority.

The production is very bouncy with a lot of club atmosphere as well as some street beats to help keep this mixtape fresh. With so much power behind the boards, there is a lot of drive pushing this project forward that the backings provide a lot of the entertainment here. The beat selection is great for the music that French Montana wants to make.

The lyricism is straight forward but is effective in places. The rhymes are not made to be the most lyrical and his shouting at the end of almost every line doesn’t help make this more interesting. He knows what his fans want, and supplies that, but doesnt push French doesn’t push himself to be better.

The features help to make this more cohesive and to break up the monotony of hearing French Montana shout. Each puts in good effort and their styles alleviate some more of the similarities between the songs. Some more singing could have added another dimension to this mixtape, but French Montana knows what his fans expect and there are some huge names on here to assist with that.

Overall, this is a good romp through what a formulaic hip hop hit sounds like, but it lacks a lot of substance. French Montana may want to evolve his content if he wants to have more longevity in his career.

Rae Sremmurd – SremmLife 2 Review

This is more of the same from both members of Rae Sremmurd and is unremarkable, but extremely catchy and hypnotic music. While entertaining, there is little to no showings of personnal growth from the duo, which is a bit of a let down.

The production is good and enjoyable, but can become repetitive. Each song doesn’t run together but contain a lot of the same elements that makes them seem less special. Maybe trying something further from their comfort zone could make a more balanced project.

The lyricism is alright but is very middle of the pack. They don’t push themselves to be better than others with their rhymes, but they know they don’t need to with the kind of music they make. While that is true, it would still be a better album if they tried to draw in more purist listeners.

The features help to make some of the tracks more interesting by bringing their own flavour to the songs they are on. Each puts in a good effort and helps make the project more cohesive. Some guests further from the comfort zone of the main artists would help show growth and experimentation, but the features on here work well with Rae Sremmurd.

Overall, this project is full of energy and will no doubt spawn some popular singles, but is not a great project for Hip Hop. It lacks technical skills and could do with an injection of wordplay with less repetition.

DJ Khaled – Major Key Review

This album had high hopes, but falls flat a lot more than it soars. Some tracks come across as cohesive genius whereas others seem more like formulaic noise to try and bring in more listeners who are not Hip Hop educated.

The production is good in places and great in others. There is a lot of energy running through the project but in a lot of places the elements in the tracks become more merged together into background noise rather than being effectively tools. Maybe some more beats with less happening in them would open up more space for the artists.

The features all do their job and most do it well to help flesh out this project. The verses tend to be effective but the hooks come across as repetitive in a lot of cases which really lets the album down. Some more imagination in that particular aspect would go a long way.

Overall, Khaled has made his playlist of high value artists and put together a collection of music that will appeal to most. However only a few tracks will remain with the listener.