This album was released on June 15th this year (2018). Jay Rock is one of my favorite gangsta rappers. ScHoolboy Q is up there too, but I feel like Jay Rock is a bit more conscious. His last album came out in 2015, and I thought it was a great project. He’s a consistent artist. He’s not one of these wack Trap artists making overly long, mundane albums with 20 versions of the same track. I’m expecting this to be a consistent collection of quality Hip Hop songs. It’s a decent length, and the features & production credits look promising enough.
The Bloodiest produced by Boi-1da, Allen Ritter & Jake One
For What It’s Worth produced by Sounwave & Rascal
Knock It Off produced by Hykeem Carter
ES Tales produced by Teddy Walton
Rotation 112th produced by Hykeem Carter
Tap Out featuring Jeremih produced by D.K. the Punisher & Top Dawg
OSOM featuring J. Cole produced by Crooklin & Pops
King’s Dead featuring Future produced by Mike WiLL Made It & Sounwave
Troopers produced by Cardo & CuBeatz
Broke +- produced by D.K. the Punisher
Wow Freestyle produced by Hit-Boy & G Dav
Redemption featuring SZA produced by Sounwave & Terrace Martin
Win produced by Vinylz, CT & Boi-1da
The intro to this album is hard as FUCK. The layered production is great, and the way Rock’s flow picks up for the second verse is awesome. The hook is pretty catchy as well. Even the music video was cool. The beat on For What It’s Worth is solid. Rock’s flow wasn’t anything special, and I wasn’t particularly interested in anything he was rapping about. The song is good though. It’s not super impressive, but I like it. It segues into Knock It Off really nicely. The song has a nice melody, and a really good beat. The repetitive hook gets old after a while, and I wasn’t that impressed by his sporadic flow, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the song. It’s dope.
East Side Tales is one of the coolest songs on the album. The production is really awesome. I love the video game sound effects they incorporated, and Jay Rock’s verses are gangsta as hell. The way they used the voice synthesizer for the intro was cool, and the hook is catchy.
Rotation 112 needs to be a single. I love the uptempo beat, and the earworm of a hook. I played it in the car on my way home last night, and Padlock was in the passenger seat. As soon as it came on, this nigga took off his seatbelt and started dabbing. I guess the song appeals to ignorant fuckniggas like him. Whatever. Tap Out is the obligatory R&B crossover song. It’s pretty well done. The production is nice, and Jeremih did a decent job. It’s not for me though. I don’t like super Pop-ish records like that. It’s obviously targeting a female audience, which is cool. I’m good on that shit though. It’s a decent track, but I’m never gonna listen to it again.
The collaboration with J. Cole is another standout track. It’s the longest song on the album, but it’s worth sitting through all the way. Jay Rock’s flow is really dope, and the feature from Cole was great. He gets bonus points for namedropping a drug that I used to take. The music video is actually pretty cool too. Remember Padlock’s review of the Black Panther soundtrack? I actually agreed with pretty much everything he said about King’s Dead. This album’s version is worse though; it doesn’t have the final verse from Kendrick at the end. That Future verse was fucking horrific. I still don’t get why people give passes to that shit. Troopers is another melodic track. It’s pretty good. It’s not the most memorable track on the album, but it’s still pretty listenable. The beat was solid. Broke +- has some of the best production on the entire project. It’s a nice piano-driven, more slowed down beat than the track it follows. It’s yet another song about “the struggle,” but it’s really well done. Wow Freestyle is an obvious standout. The production incorporates a flute, reminiscent of the beat on Big Amount by 2 Chainz. This beat is far better though. Kung Fu Kenny and Rock trade bars throughout the song, and it’s tough to say who performed better. Listening to the song is like watching two giant ass pitbulls fight. It’s awesome. I can see Kanye on the title track. It sounds like Chicago inspired production, but just with a bit more bass than usual. He goes in about his near-death experience. For those of you who don’t know, Jay Rock got in a motorcycle accident after the release of 90059, which is actually pretty goddamn scary. It’s a very reflective song. SZA sang her ass off on the hook. It’s a dope track.
The outro, WIN, was a very smart choice for a single. It’s perfect for sporting events, and it sounds like it’d be a really fun track at live shows. It’s not good though. However, a song doesn’t have to be good to be a successful single. The music video was kinda cool, but it’s not as good as the one for OSOM. It’s actually the worst song on the album in my opinion. I don’t think I’d call it a bad song, but nothing about it really stands out in a good way, and that hook is laughable.
This is a good album. There aren’t really any songs on it that struck me as being completely wack. There are definitely tracks that aren’t super memorable, but as a whole this project is solid. I enjoyed almost every song to some degree. Jay Rock is giving fans what they want with this album. I enjoyed 90059 a bit more than this, but I can’t really say I’m disappointed. However, this thing does admittedly feel super formulaic. I think it’s actually the most generic album I’ve heard from a TDE artist in a long ass time. I obviously like it, but it feels like he’s reaching for a commercial audience. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I just hope his future material is more like 90059 and less like this. With that said, I still enjoyed this a lot. It’s dope.
Favorite Song: OSOM
Least Favorite Song: Win
Watch the videos below for more thoughts on this album.