Tardy Album Review | $wank & King Draft – TwoFive to Jersey

This album was released on May 31st this year. As some of you hopefully remember, I posted my review of $wank’s latest solo project, Random As F*ck, a few weeks ago. I was really impressed by it, so I was looking forward to checking this project out as well. Before I listened to it, I wasn’t as familiar with King Draft as I was with $wank since I’d never heard a project from him, but I did enjoy the song he did with CJ Fly on the second Jamla Is the Squad compilation, which was also how I discovered $wank in the first place. Again, I didn’t know as much about King Draft, but I certainly wasn’t worried that he’d be holding $wank back at all. On the contrary, I actually think these two guys elevated each other on this album. There’s not a single track on this project that I don’t like. Obviously there are some songs I like less than others, but there aren’t any tracks that I don’t see myself returning to at all. My two least favorite tracks are Gotta Get It & Signs, but, again, I still think those are good songs. Gotta Get It has kind of a bizarre structure, which was kind of uh… I don’t know. It was bittersweet. It makes it stand out as one of the more interesting songs, but the structure itself was a little uh… Well, lemme just explain exactly what was happening. Basically, $wank & King Draft would trade couplets to form a full quatrain together, and then they would immediately go back to the hook. I guess you could say there are a shit ton of verses, but they’re each only like four bars, and they’re all divided by a recital of the hook. I personally would’ve preferred a more traditional structure, but it did make for an interesting listen. The song is still good. I liked the feature from Reuben Vincent as well. He came in towards the end of the song to join them. It’s a good track. Signs is another pretty cool track. As soon as you hear it, you’ll immediately recognize the sample of For Sale? by Kendrick Lamar, which is one of my favorite songs by him. I think it’s really cool that 9th Wonder sampled that track, but the execution wasn’t ideal personally. He included the vocals where the pitch shifted voice says “WHAT’S WRONG NIGGA? I THOUGHT THIS WHAT YOU WANTED. I THOUGHT YOU WAS KEEPIN’ IT GANGSTA.” The way those sentences are chopped up and included in the beat is just kind of distracting. I feel like it’d work better if nobody was trying to rap over it, but the verses from $wank & Draft kinda clash with it in a jarring way. Aside from that, I think it’s a pretty dope track. They both had really nice verses. I particularly liked that Simons Says line from King Draft. Again, I’m torn on the production, but overall it’s a good song. The content on So Familiar wasn’t really that interesting to me personally, but I think it was well done. The production from 9th Wonder was stellar. It actually kinda reminded me of the beat from 50 Cent’s 21 Questions. King Draft’s verse was tight, but $wank’s flow impressed me a little more on this track. The guest vocalist, Cey Mason, did a really nice job with the hook too. She sounded good. It’s a dope song. Flex Washington was another dope track. As you might have guessed from the title, it’s the one track in which they’re pretty much just bragging the whole time. Once again, the production, this time from Khrysis, was really good. In fact, this whole project is handled by the Soul Council, so it’s really well produced. The first verse from Reuben Vincent was pretty good, but I was more impressed by King Draft on the second verse. I actually think every verse on this song is better than the one that precedes it, but they’re all good. I really liked how King Draft interpolated the hook from A Tribe Called Quest’s Award Tour at the beginning of his verse. It was a cool way to start it. As I kinda mentioned, $wank ended up having my favorite verse. I think pretty much every track that I haven’t mentioned yet is awesome. The album starts off with the 9th Wonder produced title track, which left a very great first impression. I actually thought the beat sounded kinda like something Madlib would produce, but maybe that’s just me. Anyway, the first verse from King Draft was really dope. There were so many dope references that he snuck in there. That reference to Donald Glover’s fantastic show on FX, Atlanta, was great. I didn’t even catch it the first time I heard the song.

Look, nigga, I ain’t tryna be earnest
I’m gettin’ after paper, boy, I’m multiplyin’ my earnings

I think King Draft’s greatest strength is his wordplay personally. He has a knack for tucking away clever lines like that that you won’t catch on the first listen. I also really liked those lines containing references to what many refer to as “mumble rappers.”

I just keep a lil pump for niggas xan’ing & perc’ing
I hold the uzi vertical at all your friends while I’m smirking

He also started the verse off with a pretty cool Men in Black reference.

David Blaine on the M.I.C.
The flash make ’em forget like M.I.B.

$wank had a great verse as well. He also had some really nice lines. I liked that little shoutout to 9th Wonder.

What you gotta say now?
Heard I’m spittin’ bars on some beats that 9th made now; got me feelin’ wonderful

Of course I really liked that great Cool Whip reference as well.

Yeah, I drive a cool whip; I make her cream from the sex in the car
She fuck with me ’cause I’m handsome with exceptional bars

It’s dope af. The song Whole Life originally appeared on 9th Wonder’s third Zion album, which came out last year. I’ve only ever heard the first Zion album though. Oh wait… Oh. Damn. It turns out, every song that 9th Wonder produced on this album originally appeared on that third Zion album. Damn. I had no idea. Whatever. I guess it doesn’t really matter. Anyway, Whole Life has more great production, and the way $wank & King Draft are trading bars throughout the song is really dope. This is probably the best display of their top notch chemistry on the whole project. They both had really dope flows, and I really like the hook a lot too. That line from King Draft where he referenced Demi Lovato’s drug addiction caught me off guard. I kinda felt bad for laughing. It’s an undeniably dope line though. So yeah, that’s another standout track to me. Same goes for the penultimate track, Million Dollar Babies. In terms of the production, I think it’s one of the less entertaining songs personally; the actual rapping is what makes the song stand out. I think they were flowing better on this song than they did on almost every other track. $wank killed his verse, and I think King Draft delivered one of his more technically impressive verses on the project here. I really liked his flow, and I appreciated the Legend of Zelda reference. The only song where I feel like they were flowing better is the final track, Workin’. I think it’s one of the best songs on the whole project. The production is absolutely fantastic, and, again, their flows are super impressive. The hook from Reuben Vincent was pretty cool, and I think this song has some of the best rapping on the whole album. Much like Flex Washington, I think each verse gets better as the song progresses. Out of all the tracks that were originally featured on Zion 3—the 9th Wonder-produced tracks—Lonely Nights is definitely my favorite. The intro is really dope, and I really wasn’t expecting that beat switch up; my face twisted up the first time I heard it. I really love the somber production on the rest of the song too. I could definitely hear J. Cole rapping over that beat. It’s probably the second most emotional song on the album. $wank really killed that first verse. They both rapped with their hearts on their sleeves for that song. It’s amazing. Perfect was another one of my favorites. I really loved the intoxicating, dreamy production. The background vocals sounded really angelic too. The sung hook from Cey Mason was great as well, and I also really liked the way King Draft sounded over the beat. I think his voice is really great for rap period. It stood out a lot over this style of production though. The way he was flowing might’ve had something to do with it too. $wank’s flow was nice, and I think his verse was really well written. The content is cool too. I love the song. However, my overall favorite track on the entire album is easily Chip Off the Block. Nigga, that shit is incredible. The beat is from Ka$h, so it’s the only song that wasn’t produced by 9th Wonder or Khrysis. It maintains that dreamy aesthetic that Perfect had though. I think the instrumental is fantastic, and I was really impressed by King Draft’s verse, which was very well written & performed. However, it’s really the second verse from $wank that pushed this song to the next level for me. King Draft’s verse had some really emotionally gripping storytelling, but $wank’s verse was far more personal. It’s basically written from the perspective of his deceased father delivering a message to $wank himself. I know. Crazy shit, man. Crazy! AAAAAGH! Seriously the song is amazing. By the time it was over, I was just sitting in my chair like…

That's sad…

Also, that bicycle line that $wank had about not falling victim to addiction like his other family members was awesome. It’s an amazing song. Definitely one of the more emotionally potent songs I’ve heard all year. Shit is dope af.


This album is really great. I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot recently, but this is another one of the best albums I’ve heard all year. I really don’t have any consistent gripes with it. There weren’t any major mistakes that they kept making over and over again. Maybe I shouldn’t use the word “mistakes.” I’ll put it like this: they didn’t make any artistic decisions that I strongly disagreed with throughout the whole record. I think the majority of the tracks on the project are superb. Stuff like this is always frustrating to listen to because you really have to ask yourself why these guys aren’t more well known. Why in the world do I not see anyone else talking about this? People keep talking about how it’s been such a slow year for Hip Hop, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s just that they keep waiting for the same 15 niggas in the spotlight to drop instead of doing a little work looking for genuinely great music like this on their own. Hip Hop fans really need to wake up and stop sleeping on dudes like this. I feel like I wrote more about King Draft than $wank in this review, but that’s because this was practically my introduction to him as an artist; I had already developed an opinion on $wank prior to hearing this, but I’d only ever heard one verse from King Draft. I was beyond satisfied with his performance though. This album is really great. Do not sleep on it. It’s dope.

Favorite Song: Chip Off the Block
Least Favorite Song: Signs

88

80-89
Grade: A-

Tell me if I'm trippin'

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