This extended play was released on Juneteenth this year. Skyzoo already released one of the better EPs of 2020 in April with The Bluest Note, so I was a little surprised to see that he was following it up so soon. The one single that I heard from it instilled a lot of confidence though, so I was really looking forward to the full project. I think you should read my review of The Bluest Note if you want a better idea of how I feel about Skyzoo as an artist. At least read the preamble. Anyway, the central theme of this project is fatherhood. Each track is a story that either involves Skyzoo’s father or his child, so that’s pretty cool. There isn’t a lot of music like this in Hip Hop, so it’s a pretty original idea, even though it probably should seem like a no brainer. I’m expecting it to be about as great as Skyzoo’s other EP from this year.
1. Memory Serves Me produced by 1st Official
I really like the production on this track. It’s got kind of a jazzy sound, but it’s still Boom Bap at it’s core. I think the opening verse from Skyzoo is perfectly written.
Our father who art in the living room cracking a brew
Know where I’m attached even when I’m attached to the stoop
Thinking I’m doing more than I am ’til you hand me the news
Like, “I know everything you that you on, I’m actually you”
I grew up outside just like the rest of us did, him included
Prayer hands up for all of the ways that I been influenced
Skyzoo is one of those artists who effortlessly conveys everything he’s trying to get across super clearly. I remember being tripped out when I first realized how much my father and I were alike. Fun fact: one time when I was younger I saw my own reflection in the TV in my room and it scared me because I thought I was looking at my dad. Anyway, the hook on this song is actually pretty good too, and the second verse is even better than the first one in my opinion. A lot of the shit Skyzoo rapped about on this song is stuff that kinda fucked my mind when I first went off to college and started thinking about just how much of my life was, for lack of a better word, “designed” by my parents.
All of this was thought out, whether I was thinking or not
Somebody was thinking in case I ain’t think out the box
I think this song is pretty awesome to be honest. There’s really nothing about it that I don’t like. It’s dope as hell.
2. At Least I Got One produced by MarcNfinit
I forgot to mention it, but the skit at the end of the previous song is pretty cool. It sounds like it’s taken from a movie or TV show, but I don’t know exactly where it comes from. Anyway, it leads into this song really well, and I feel like without hearing that skit this song would have less context. It’s the shortest track on the project, and I feel like if you know the theme of this EP you can predict what this song is about based on the title alone.
Prayers up for who ain’t blessed like I
Praising a drought, my pops ain’t never left me dry
No apologies for bringing this ringer out with me
You get your brother? That’s fine, shit you know where I’ma lean, right?
There’s only one verse, but the hook here is pretty nice. The song is very straightforward, but, once again, I feel like he really executed this track very well. It’s super well written. It’s not my number one favorite on the project, but it was the first track that really stood out to me on my first listen. I think it’s dope as hell.
3. Turning 10 produced by MarcNfinit
This was actually a low point for me on the project on my first listen, but after listening to it more closely it’s a major highlight. The storytelling here is crazy. The first verse about his friend selling crack to his own mother was wild to me.
My man used to sling to his mother
Took a couple dollars off so she ain’t think he don’t love her
I said “damn son, your pops don’t care?” He said, “son, I don’t know
My father been in and outta Rikers since I was 9 years old”
He passed me the L and then continued to bag snow
I pictured myself in his shoes and took a drag slow
His mother came in the room with seven singles
He gave her a bag of stones, her face said “heaven sent you”
I’m a mama’s boy, so that shit kinda fucked me up to be honest. Anyway, the message behind this song is summed up pretty well in the hook.
All my friends who got a son with their ex
I tell them right off the deck
Go and get your son when he turns 10
And all the women I know who know what’s best
And the way that this shit is set
Give that boy up when he turns 10
Basically, Sky’s advice is that boys should be raised by their fathers while they are going through puberty. I never really spoke to either of my parents about puberty-related stuff when I was little, which I guess might not be a surprise depending on how well you know me. I guess in general this seems like a good idea though. It makes sense to me. The second verse is super well-written. The jazzy production on this song is really great too by the way. It’s probably my favorite instrumental up to this point on the record. The third verse on this track is great too. Again, this track didn’t stand out much to me at first, but now it’s probably my favorite song up to this point on the project. This shit is dope as hell.
4. Duffle Bag Weekends featuring Ashtin Martin produced by Tuamie
Once again, the skit from the end of the preceding track is really well done. I actually can’t tell if it’s from a movie or if it was recorded specifically for this project. If it is from a movie, it’s kinda crazy how well it fits into this project. Anyway, I think the verse from Skyzoo on this song is super well written, just like all the others. The song is basically about how Skyzoo would transition from living with his mom to living with his dad every now and then. My favorite lines come toward the end of his verse.
Me and mine got a story or two
Nothing that needs to be spoken up over the loop
Just know that it all makes sense when it’s hindsight
My mother told me “be like your father when the time’s right”
My pop told me “your mother’s here to give you emotion
And I’m here to give you the aim to blow shit open, fully loaded”
This is admittedly one of the less entertaining songs on the project for me, but nothing about it is particularly bad. I think the vocals from Ashtin Martin on the outro are actually really great, and the record scratches were a really nice touch as well. It sounded like there was a Westside Gunn sample buried in there, which was really cool too. It might not actually be WSG, but it sounded like him to me. Anyway, I fuck with the song. It’s dope.
5. Eyes Wide Shut produced by MarcNfinit
This is yet another highlight on the project for me. I love the jazzy production here, and I really like the simplistic structure of the song too. The whole thing is pretty much just one verse. The content is very reminiscent of the following track, albeit less detailed and in-depth.
All of that do change us, could’ve been a different view
Never know the bags under your view until they stick with you
But sleep is the cousin of the death, so never sleep
My pop said “I’ve been up since you was born, best believe,
Best believe you’re gon’ believe it all when you get to be”
And I been up since December 20th, 2017, do believe
This feels like a perfect intro to A Song for Fathers, which was the single for this project. The verse here is super well written though, and this track has one of my favorite instrumentals on the project. The song is dope as hell.
6. A Song for Fathers produced by !llmind
This is the lead single for Skyzoo’s Milestones EP, which is releasing on Juneteenth, so it’ll be out by the time this article is published. It’s a conceptual project about fatherhood, and from what I understand the whole thing kinda tells his life story with a focus on his own father and then his son later on in the project. I might be kinda wrong. I don’t know. It don’t matter. The song is fire though. The production from !llmind is a lot jazzier than I was expecting. I usually don’t expect this style from him. The song is super well written too.
Pass what he gave me to mine in due time
From how to put a fist in the air to shooting five
To how to not give in to fear when the blues arrive
He said “my only job was making sure you survive”
Duly noted, all the direction that you were throwing
I might not have known where it led, but I knew the motive
So all the conversations that might’ve turned into more
Was to keep me from writing from the other side of the wall
It’s a really heartfelt track. I love the hook. The second verse is more about Skyzoo’s son than his own father, and it’s really great. The entire song is really well crafted. I personally don’t really have a great relationship with my father at all, so I didn’t relate to this very much, but I still felt everything Skyzoo was saying. This shit is really awesome to be honest. I think it’s a fantastic song. Again, Milestones will be out by the time you read this, so check it out if you fuck with this track.
7. Duly Noted produced by Aaron Hardin
This song is pretty much a Spoken Word conclusion, and I think it’s super well done. The writing here is top notch, and the instrumental here is very pretty as well. It’s a bit repetitive, but I like how there’s no percussion at all. I kinda mentioned this earlier, but this shit really resonated with me because it made me reflect on certain epiphanies I had about my parents and childhood while I was in college during my psychotic episode.
Didn’t realize I was just remembering while I was figuring
What all this was supposed to mean, and I mean
The meaning behind it was what he said all this was worth
All this was just so that there’d be some kinda meaning when mentioning me
Or mentioning my brothers beside me ‘cause you see
This all could’ve went another route, this all could’ve just turned into “turn on whatever”
And see the same turn that was predicted for when it was my turn, so I turned
Turned into what I wasn’t supposed to
Turned into what everyone around us said we’d never get close to
But I ain’t turn ‘cause I chose to, I turned ’cause, yo, I ain’t have a choice
Because a choice was made long ago
That being something other than who and what was around us was the road I was taking
If you just turn this song on and don’t really pay attention to the content or the overall theme of the EP, then this’ll probably be boring to you. If you’re not the type of person who really values lyricism or pays attention to what’s being said when you listen to music, you definitely won’t enjoy this as much as I did. I really appreciated this shit though. I think it’s really dope.
I actually think this is the best project Skyzoo has ever made. There’s not a single track here that I don’t like, and I have zero gripes with it overall. I frankly think he nailed the concept of this project. I think this’ll be very emotionally poignant for those who have strong relationships with their fathers, and it might even be more gripping for those who don’t know their fathers at all. I personally know my father, and I don’t really like him, but even I was moved by this project. It’s definitely one of the best EPs I’ve heard this year. It’s also the best fatherhood-themed project I’ve heard. That’s mainly because I think it’s the only fatherhood themed project that I’ve heard, but still. This shit is great. Do not sleep on it.
Favorite Song: A Song for Fathers
Least Favorite Song: Duffle Bag Weekends
Watch the video below for more thoughts on this project.