Album Review | Ronesh – Basilica

This album was released on April 15th this year. Ronesh is a producer who I first became familiar with in 2020 when he collaborated with D. Lanham on their Ikarus Rising extended play. I went on to check out an album that Ronesh produced for an artist named Doc Wattson called Bonsai. To keep a long story short, basically I was super impressed by everything I’ve heard from Ronesh. I’m more familiar with him as a producer than as a rapper, but I have enjoyed the one or two verses that I’ve heard from in him the past, so I think I’m gonna really like this album.

There aren’t any tracks that I don’t like on this album, so I’ll write about it in the proper order of the tracklist. The project begins with A Beautiful Work in Progress. I really love the jazzy production on this track. For some reason it made me think of Outkast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. I feel like they would sound good over this beat. It reminds me of Organized Noize. I look at Ronesh as a producer first and rapper second, but that’s not a knock against his rapping. I just think he’s an incredible producer, so that’s what I come to him for first and foremost. I really enjoyed his performance on this song though.

Used to feel like I was worthless
Stumbling, tryna find a purpose
Fumbling the bank, thinkin'
I'ma never grasp what I've been searchin'
For, so many doors slammed in my face
Realized that the only way through is the path I create
I gotta be self-reliant
Can't sit around and wait for someone else's guidance

The verse on this track is really nice. I can’t decide what I like more between the beat and the verse. It’s a really dope intro. It transitions really nicely into the following track, Little Bit of Light, which I covered earlier this year.

Ronesh has become one of my favorite producers over the past 12 months, so when I saw that he was gearing up to release a full length album entitled Basilica I was pretty excited. This first single features Buk of Psychodrama, who I have barely any experience with. I’ve only heard him on the title track of Twista’s Adrenaline Rush album, along with his feature on Lupe Fiasco‘s Chopper. Anyway, the production on this track is nice and smooth; it feels very airy. Ronesh’s flow on the first verse is just as breezy as the instrumental is. Before hearing this track, I had forgotten how amazing Buk’s voice is. He has a perfect voice for rap. His flow is also really nice here.

Sometimes I struggle with depression but I get up out the bed everyday thankin' god for another day to live
This world is mine and everything in it, can't another motherfucker say it's his
My morning mind on the money no matter what, my moment motivate me to get more
I wanna find a new way to keep coming up then come up with some more shit to be sure

I thought Ronesh’s verse was already really good, but Buk pushed this shit to the next level. I think I like his performance here more than the two aforementioned features with Twista & Lupe. Check this track out and let me know what you think. It’s dope as hell to me.

The following track is entitled Dave the Dope Fiend, and it’s inspired by Slick Rick’s Children’s Story. It’s a pretty grim story about a character named Dave becoming addicted to drugs. It kinda reminded me of Pistol Dave by the Epic Beard Men. The jazzy beat is pretty nice, but the most memorable aspect of the song is just the lyrical content. I think it’s a dope track. Slip Away has a really nice, melodic instrumental. I think Ronesh delivers one of his best verses on the album here too. I really liked the breezy delivery he had, and his flow was nice. I’m not exactly sure who the female vocalist on the hook is, but she did a really great job. There are two artists featured on this track named ThrownEmc & Kastaway. If I had to guess I’d say that’s Kastaway on the hook. That would mean that the second verse is performed by ThrownEmc, who did a pretty nice job in my opinion. Their flow was really nice. The final verse from Ronesh is my favorite part of the song though. I think he did a really great job on this track. The song is dope. Game Theory has a really cool beat to me, and I appreciate the political content of the song. It’s not one of my favorite tracks on the project, but I definitely enjoy it to some extent. I just feel like the track kinda loses all it’s energy during the hook. The rapping is really good, and I dig the beat. I’m just not crazy about that hook. The song is still good to me overall though. I fuck with it. It’s followed by a highlight for me entitled One Day. This one features Mic Logik & Doc Wattson, and it has one of the smoothest beats on the project. The first verse from Ronesh is great.

Cops and robbers, scholars & jits chasin' dollars & sense
Wanted more than what I got, but all my dollars are spent
Feel like a young Rakim, nothin' in my pockets but lint
Schemin' on turnin' this Top Ramen to lobster & shrimp

It’s probably his best verse on the whole album. The hook from Mic Logik is even more of an earworm than that of Slip Away. It’s catchy as fuck. In fact, I’d say it’s the catchiest moment on the whole album. It’s dope af. The second verse from Doc Wattson is the fucking icing on the cake too. The song was already fire, but he really pushed it to the next level. I think he killed this shit. His writing is really poetic and beautiful. I think this song is dope af. I have zero issues with it. It’s followed by another highlight called Tomorrow’s Wins. This track has one of my favorite beats on the project. I love how lighthearted and cheerful it sounds. It sounds like the innocence of childhood in the form of music. It’s an amazing instrumental to me. I really like Ronesh’s writing on the first verse of this track too.

Over the years I've gotten better at decision-making
Keeping myself up outta jams & sticky situations
Before I learned to walk I had to trip & fall
So if I hit the ground again, I ain't even trippin', y'all

I like the hook on this track too. It’s just a really nice song. Once again, I have no gripes with it. I think it’s dope as hell. The penultimate track is entitled Miss Me, and it features some really dope cuts from DJ P3096. I like the more Electronic sounding production here a lot, and I appreciate the lyrical content from Ronesh.

Miss me with the gimmicks too, and all the trendiness
The phony friendliness, if we ain't homies don't pretend we is
Fuck your bigotry, miss me with the ignorance
The "both sides"-ism, deflection, and false equivalence

It’s a very relatable song for me. I think it’s dope. The closing track is entitled Find Peace, and I think the lyricism here from Ronesh on the first verse is pretty poetic.

I hope your air is clean
I hope the fire burning deep within your spirit never runs out of kerosene
I hope you find ways to soothe your mental
Keep it live and realize your full potential
It could be so simple, but we complicate it
Hope you never let a hater go and stop your greatness
Hope your heart heal, and you don't hurt no more
I hope you find exactly what it is your searchin' for

The hook is pretty smooth too, and the second verse is also very good. This isn’t one of my favorite tracks on the album, but I did enjoy it to some extent, and I think it’s a good outro.

This is a great album. There aren’t any tracks that I don’t like, and, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I’ve enjoyed every single song I’ve heard that Ronesh has worked on. This is just more great music from one of my favorite underground producers in Hip Hop right now. I still view him as a producer first, but he’s proven himself as a competent songwriter with this album. There’s not a single bad verse here. I was thoroughly impressed by all the features as well. These aren’t my favorite beats that I’ve heard from Ronesh, but all of them are still pretty good. I think this album is really dope overall. Check it out.

Favorite Song: One Day
Least Favorite Song: Game Theory


Grade: B+

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