Album Review | Ilajide – Code 200

This album was released on April 20th this year. I don’t really have a lot of background information on this project, but I do know that Ilajide had been teasing it for a while before it was actually released. I heard 3 of the singles he dropped, so I kind of have an idea of how this record will sound. I think I’m gonna really dig it though. I really have no reason to believe this won’t be good. I’ve loved Ilajide’s work with Clear Soul Forces, so I think this shit is gonna be fire.

There aren’t any tracks that I don’t like from this album, so I’ll write about the whole thing in the proper order of the tracklist. It begins with a highlight entitled Black Jesus.

This was one of the singles I heard prior to the full project, and I loved it immediately. The lighthearted, vibrant, bouncy, floaty production from Ilajide here is fire. It made me think of Kirby for some reason. I have no idea why. Anyway, Ilajide’s flow is just as bouncy and catchy as the production is.

Damn, it's a nigga turn
Feelin' traffic with the rappin', can I get a turn?
Smoke the hash 'til it ash, put it in an urn
RIP to my pockets 'cause I never learn, they always givin'
But everybody be lovin' color rubbin' my skin n' shit
Maybe 'cause I'm rich n' not talkin' 'bout the conditioning
Nor confined to none of the conditions that we livin' in
Create a haven escape USA 'fore they kill a nig'

I think he killed that verse, and the hook is pretty catchy too. It’s a really nice, fun song. I fuck with it. It’s dope as hell to me. It’s followed by the title track, Code 200. What really stood out to me about this song was Ilajide’s actual vocal performance. The way he manipulated his voice throughout this track was really awesome. At one point I swear to god he sounds just like Meechy Darko. It’s really impressive. I never really noticed him doing anything like that before, so it caught me by surprise. I mean that in a good way though. It sounds awesome when he spits with that more aggressive, raspy delivery. I really like the melodic production on this track too. It’s not as lighthearted as the preceding track, but it still gave me the coveted involuntary head nod. The hook isn’t really anything special to me to be honest; the main appeal for me is just Ilajide’s rapping along with the production. The song is really dope to me overall. It’s followed by Leave wit It, Pt. 2. This track has another pretty bouncy, vibrant instrumental, and the opening verse from Ilajide is really nice. The second verse is performed by Noveliss.

My breathing techniques influence my blade
Could slay a demon, but in this moment I'm only chosen to cut the lock on the safe
Slash upward, elbow pointed down
Catch the fragments of the lock before they hit the ground and make a sound
Make sure my mask is still intact and then I make my rounds
Redistribute the wealth among the poorest people in town
A shinobi of fortune for the less fortunate
At night I do my thing, every rooftop is serene
Light on my feet before I cut the circular hole in the glass
Then drop the drone in, never move until I locate the bag

As you can see, he killed it. The song was already good, but he added another level of dopeness to it. I fuck with the song. It’s followed by a highlight called Hunnids. This track has a really nice melodic, lighthearted, bouncy instrumental. Ilajide killed the opening verse too.

No time for the help, niggas
Where was niggas when a nigga needed help, nigga?
I got tired of hoes like I got a belt, nigga
I missed the dap on purpose 'cause I never felt niggas

The hook is pretty catchy, and the guest verses from Mic Phelps & L.A.Z. really pushed this track to the next level for me. They both killed this shit, especially Mic Phelps. Mic Phelps is probably my favorite feature on the album, even though he had that questionable “my eyes low like Mulan” line. The song is dope as hell to me overall. They killed it. It’s followed by another highlight entitled Wait II. I think it’s kinda weird how both Wait & Wait II appear out of order on this album, but it’s not really an issue. This track has another very vibrant, kind of Electronic-sounding beat. I think it’s really dope, and Ilajide fits over it perfectly. I feel like this song was meant to be played in the car. The bass is so loud that I couldn’t help but think of Big K.R.I.T.’s My Sub series. Ilajide’s flow on this track is crazy too. He killed this shit, especially on that second verse. The song is dope as hell. The following track is called Know Money, and it features an artist I’d never heard of named Belve; I thought his performance here was really nice though.

These niggas don't know money
Fucked up and they owe money
And these hoes wanna blow money
Snowbunny and their nose runny
Get dick, nothin' else from me
Smoke top shelf and I chase cash
Like I'm on my last with an empty tummy
When you caked up they can't call you ugly

This song also has one of the prettiest beats on the album. The hook is pretty solid, and the opening verse from Ilajide is of course very nice as well. The song is dope. The following track is entitled Wunsagin, and it’s one of the weaker songs on the album in my opinion.

I don’t think it’s bad at all, but it just doesn’t stand out as much as some of the other songs to me. I really like the lighthearted, melodic production, and the first verse from Ilajide is great. The hook isn’t anything special, but it serves its purpose well enough as a break between the verses. I think the second verse is even better than the first one. The song is really dope overall despite not being one of my favorites. The following track is entitled Arrival, and I wrote about it in one of my old Best Singles of the Week posts.

This is the third single from Ilajide’s upcoming solo album, Code 200. I loved both of the first two singles, Black Jesus & Wait., so I was pretty excited when I saw this single with the whole crew on it. Clear Soul Forces dropped one of the better albums of 2019 in my opinion, and they actually have another album dropping on March 13th this year, so that should be great. If it’s anywhere near as good as this single, they might have another album of the year contender on their hands. Ilajide murdered that first verse, and I love the chill, jazzy instrumental from Def Dee. All the other members did a great job too, especially Noveliss—I still have to check out his latest solo album—but I honestly think I liked Ilajide’s performance the most. He did a fantastic job. I’m really looking forward to Code 200 because I’ve now heard three fantastic singles for it. There’s no reason for me to not be anticipating it as one of the best albums of the year. I’m really looking forward to hearing more.

The beat on Boatload is more chill than most of the other beats. I fuck with it. I was a bit concerned when I saw that the track was over five minutes in length because that’s much longer than the song needs to be. However, there’s actually a hidden song in this track. After Boatload ends, there’s like 25 seconds of silence followed by an additional song. I’m not sure what to call it, but it’s one of the best moments on the whole album. Ilajide fucking spazzed out here. I think this is probably his most impressive verse on the album. His energetic delivery sounded great, and his flow was really cool. Overall, Boatload is far from my favorite track on the album, but that second part really made me appreciate it more. I think it’s a pretty good track overall. Track 10 is entitled Real Quick, Pt. 2. I felt a little out of the loop because I’d never heard the first entry in this Real Quick series, but this song doesn’t require that you’ve heard it to be enjoyed. This is one of my favorite tracks on the project just because it has the jazziest instrumental. I love this beat. It really stands out from the rest of the tracks. I love Ilajide’s flow on the first verse, and the second verse is even better. He killed this track. I think it’s dope as hell. The penultimate track is called Wait., and it was released as a single ahead of the album’s full release.

I think it’s amazing. It’s my favorite track on the album. There’s not a single aspect of this song that I don’t love. Literally as soon as it starts I get the coveted involuntary head nod. The beat is hard as bricks, but it’s really Ilajide’s flow that pushes this song to the next level. He was gliding over this beat like a damn figure skater. I think the song is amazing. As the cool kids are saying these days, “this shit slaps.” It’s dope af. The closing track is another fire single entitled Okay.

It’s not the most unique song on the album. It honestly just sounds like more of the same, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think the vibrant production here is really nice, and Ilajide’s flow over it is smoother than fuck, especially on that second verse. He killed it.

This album is dope as hell. I’d actually say that it’s one of the better projects I’ve heard in 2021 so far. I don’t know what I’m more impressed by between Ilajide’s rapping and his production. I like how the overall atmosphere of this album is really vibrant and upbeat sounding. This is a really fun record. Ilajide’s flows are buttery smooth and the beats are bass-heavy and colorful. If you’re a fan of CSF I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re gonna dig this. The singles are also a pretty good indication of what the rest of the album sounds like. I personally think this shit is really great. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Favorite Song: Wait.
Least Favorite Song: Boatload


Grade: A-


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