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.
While there has been some discussion about whether this is a legitimate DMX album, the chemistry he displays is on the tracks is still good and shows that he hasn’t missed a step. While he may not have been behind putting this album out, it is none too shabby and there are some great tracks on it.
The production is good overall but it would be good to hear more gritty, energetic and street beats. Some of the tracks on here have that formula when DMX is at his strongest, but there are a lot of tracks where DMX doesn’t sound at his best or sounds out of place over the backing. With some minor track list adjustments to include more energy and less emotions, while some are necessary, this would be a great project.
The lyricism is definitely there and DMX keeps his style rugged and raw like his greatest hits have all been. DMX uses his wordplay and rap skill to show that he is no lyrical slouch while keeping it true to the streets. Keeping it clever but dirty helps to make the tracks more interesting to listen to as well as interesting to a wider audience than if he picked only one of them.
The features are good and help to show a more complete album than if DMX was to go it alone. With others there to complement his particular style, the album has more depth with the features added and they each bring their own edge to the album. No one disappoints with their contributions and this actually helps DMX sound like the top dog he is in the Rap game.
Overall, this is a good album, even if it is not endorsed by the main artist himself. While some of the tracks are a disappointment, overall, they tie together ok and with DMX’s style boosts that up to good or the lower levels of great. If this is what he produces when he doesn’t consider this an album, a project he is fully behind will be beyond great.