Freeway – Think Free Review

This release shows that despite any health issues, Freeway can still make quality music. He has kept everything that made him a great rapper and improves upon any weaknesses he may have had.

The production is amazing, with some classic offerings blending in with some more modern beats. Each backing accurately reflects the content and message of the lyrics and helps build a cohesive and fluid listening experience. Maybe a few more times on more pop beats will help Freeway be a little more comfortable on the tracks, since he doesn’t sound perfectly at home, but this is still a great selection here.

The lyricism is fantastic with Freeway utilizing his strong delivery to help the impact of his rhymes. There is strong wordplay that really helps with the descriptive aspect of the project. There are no issues with Freeway’s performance here as he even plays a little with his flow.

The features are, on paper, strong choices. However while some pull of great performances and show how clever their rhymes can be, others let the opportunity slide and give less than average verses. Hopefully Freeway will take this experience and not play to what he thinks the audience will enjoy, and make what he thinks is great music.

Overall, this is a great release from a veteran of the rap game. Moving forward, hopefully he can continue to have output like this and make records for real hip hop heads to enjoy.

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.

J. Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive Review

This is an emotional roller-coaster of an album. It explores a lot of what people can go through in their lives as a whole as well as in their day to day experiences and this makes for an album that really connects with the listener. It is cohesive and all works together well as an overall project.

The production is amazing and really draws the listener in. It creates the perfect atmosphere on each song and helps to boost the message of each track to get the point across better. It all flows very easily together and isn’t jagged or shifting. Instead it runs smoothly and is a joy to listen to.

The lyricism is clever and has a lot of re-listen ability. Cole masterfully shapes his lyrics into very smart story telling rhymes and witty wordplay. Cole does a great job at staying on point in the songs and making powerful messages in songs, which is also true for this project.

With no features to compare to, Cole does a great  job of shouting out everyone who helped to make this project on the last track where after the first three minutes, leads to him joking around and thanking everybody. He says it is like “the credits rolling” and it is like that if the credits were amusing and made you want to keep listening.

Overall, this is a great album which can be listened to over and over again as it is so easy to listen to while still being engaging to the listener. This is a great feat for Cole and for his Dreamville label as he shouts them out in the “credits” on the album. If you are a fan of Hip Hop, get this album.