Album Review | Kastaway – My Life in Music 3: Revelation

This album was released on November 13th in 2021. Kastaway is an artist with whom I’m not really that familiar. I’ve only heard him featured on Mic Logik‘s latest album in the past. He was also featured on Ronesh’s Basilica album from last year. I’ve never heard a solo track from Kastaway, so I have no idea what this project is gonna sound like. I’m hoping that I’ll enjoy it to some extent, but I’m not gonna set my expectations too high.

The album starts with Just to Get a Rep, which I actually think is pretty goddamn dope. The heavy, melodic production from Tone Styles is really nice, and the autobiographical storytelling from Kastaway is great. I’m not gonna spoil the story, but the conclusion was pretty shocking. There’s no hook on this track; Kastaway is just rapping the whole time. It’s kind of a short song, but it doesn’t feel incomplete or anything. I don’t really have any issues with this song. It’s really dope. The following song is entitled The Throne, and it features two artists named Cam the Downrocka & C-Note. I’m assuming it’s not the same C-Note that worked with UGK, but I could be wrong. It’s definitely not Honorable C.N.O.T.E. Anyway, the boom bap production from Max I Million on this track is actually pretty good, and I love the record scratches from Cam the Downrocka. The first verse from Kastaway is really nice.

To dream is homicidal if you comin' from my homeland
That's probably why I won't sleep 'til I'm an old man
But for now I'm an omen, gotta listen just to notice
If I'm a sign of danger, come to put the world on notice
Chicago where it's coldest, home of some of the boldest
Livin' Monday through Sunday, signify who really strongest

The hook isn’t really anything special to me, but it serves its purpose well enough. The second verse is pretty good too.

I live it more than I spit it, you never will forget it
Leavin' memorable marks on your mind with all my lyrics
If I freestyle or pen it, know it's comin' from the spirit
You catch the holy ghost whenever my record's spinnin'
Doesn't matter your religion, Islam or Christian
It's Bible or Qur'an when I'm quotin' all my scriptures

I think the song is pretty good overall, but it’s not one of my favorites on the album. Track 3 is entitled Frenemies, and it’s got another heavy, melodic beat from Krikit Boi. I really like Kastaway’s fast-paced flow on the first verse. He sounds great here. The hook isn’t really anything special to me, but it works. As the title of the song kind of indicates, he’s just rhyming about people being shitty friends. I mostly like this song for the production along with Kastaway’s flow, but the lyrics are good too. It’s a very well-written song. I think it’s dope. It’s followed by Shine, which has more production from Krikit Boi, as well as a feature from an artist named Gritz. I really like the lighthearted, melodic production, and Kastaway’s fast-paced flow on the first verse is nice. Gritz’s singing on the hook is actually pretty great too. He reminds me of Jeremih. Usually when rappers go for the R&B crossover it doesn’t work for me, but this is actually one of my favorite tracks on the album. I think Gritz actually sounds really awesome here, and the verses from Kastaway are very well written. I liked how he went in about colorism in the music industry.

I was once on the phone with a label
Who said I wasn't able to sell truth, but rather push fables
Due to my skin being dark like Sable
Broke my heart, took the deal off the table
Rageful, you mean 'cause the color of my facial
I can't sell records like J. Cole or Drake do?

Again, I think this is one of the better songs on the album. It’s dope as hell to me. The following track is called Institution (Books), and it’s one of the more interesting songs from a lyrical standpoint.

Boxcutters inside my backpack, I had to stash that
Between my grammar school and my home, I can get slashed at
Didn't want the risk of bein' cut or jumped or even laughed at
See, pride is everything in the hood, I had to have that

It’s pretty much just about him trying to balance going to school with survival in a dangerous environment.

I'm in class, something's wrong, why the day feelin' so long?
I'm less worried 'bout my grades, but more about my way home
With some folks I get along, and got some beef in certain zones
They jumped my man yesterday, now I gotta walk alone

I think the storytelling on this track is really well done. The production from Krikit Boi is pretty nice too. The song is dope. It’s followed by Love Hard / Still Fight, which has one of my favorite instrumentals on the album from C-Note. It kinda reminds me of Flight of the Navigator by Childish Gambino. Based on the title and production, I expected this to be a love song, but it’s more of a political track.

I'm so conflicted how we both Christian
But you justify killin' us through scripture
I mean, what Bible are you readin'?
Your version must be ghostwritten by some kinda demon

The one aspect of this song that I’m not crazy about is the hook. The background vocals from Tiffany Michele sound good, but the melody that Kastaway is kinda singing just sounds awkward to me over this beat. However, aside from that, I really enjoyed this track. I think it’s dope. It’s followed by Chosen, which has another melodic beat from Tone Styles. This is the obligatory love song on the album.

Let me tell the truth for a sec
Feelings I possess that I must confess
I never thought that you would give me positive stress
But then I decompress when I'm closer to your flesh
Closer than the rest, never thought that you would be
Inside the window soul, never thought that you would see
Gave me a taste that you turned into a need
Your love became a drug, now I turned into a fiend

I think it’s a very well-written song, but it’s far from my favorite. The content isn’t particularly interesting to me, and I’m not crazy about the melodic hook. With that said, I think the hook is better than that of the preceding track. I’m also convinced that Kastaway is genuinely in love with the subject of the song, which is cool. I definitely enjoyed the song to some extent, but it’s not really something that I see myself returning to. It’s just okay to me. The following track is entitled My Life Continues. I really like the production from Krikit Boi on this track. The first verse from Kastaway is really nice, and I even think this track has one of the better hooks on the album. The guest features from Rudy de Anda & Lester Jay are pretty good too. I think the vocals on the hook sound great. I like how the production gets a bit more melodic during the hook too. This is one of the better songs on the album in my opinion. I think it’s dope. Track 9 is called 9-6 & Forever, and it’s one of the more exciting songs for me because it features WRDS & Mic Logik. It’s also got more scratching from Cam the Downrocka. WRDS killed that first verse.

I listen to you wack niggas rap whenever I need hope
I listen to you wack niggas rap whenever I need jokes
You can never damage all the passion now that I evoke
A Puerto Rican raised in the hood, this is the result
I get in where I fit in, my definition of winning
Is reaching every goal that I plotted from the beginning
Track after track, I hustle, I had to get it
Track after track, I'm ridin' 'cause I was driven

The hook isn’t really anything special, but it serves its purpose well. The second verse from Kastaway is cool, and Mic Logik killed the final verse.

We take a beat then put it in a casket
I stay a leg up like I took a hatchet to one of your limbs and hacked it
Cut from a different fabric, not your average
I'm gettin' love from the masses, and I'm well known all across the atlas
And y'all don't wanna clash with these bars
I'll finish you quicker than I ash my cigar

The production from Krikit Boi doesn’t really stand out that much to me, and the hook could’ve been more interesting, but I still really enjoyed this song. I think it’s dope. Track 10 is called Living My Life, and it has another feature from Gritz over some production from Kotiko Sounds. This is probably the poppiest song on the album. I think the production is decent, and the verses are all well-written, but I’m not really a fan of the hook from Gritz. It’s just way too clean and fluffy sounding. It sounds like something that could definitely make it onto the radio. The actual rapping is better than what usually makes it onto the radio though. It’s not like there are any bad lines from Kastaway here. This just isn’t my type of Hip Hop. It’s way too poppy for me. I don’t think it’s a bad song, but I can’t really say that I enjoyed it. It’s mediocre to me. The penultimate track is entitled Wings to the Sky, and it has more production from Krikit Boi. It also features an artist named Stephstaa, who did an okay job singing the hook. I mean, she did a good job. I’m just not completely sold on the melody itself. Thankfully, this track has some of the most interesting lyricism on the album from Kastaway.

Early 2020, I ain't wanna rhyme no more
Burnin' in my throat, I ain't wanna fry no more
But COVID came, and my pain I can't deny no more
So I fought for life, I ain't wanna die no more
And I did 900 times, but didn't hit the thousandth
Recorded with the pain just to show I'm not a coward
When it rains it pours, and those songs became showers
That washed away my misery and gave me the power
To fight for sunshine, now I'm high, floatin' in the sky
Fuck fashion, this a different type of fly

The production from Krikit Boi is pretty solid too. This isn’t really a highlight for me on the album, but I definitely enjoyed it overall. I think it’s pretty good. The closing track is called Revelation, and it has another feature from Tiffany Michele. The production from Tone Styles is pretty nice, and I appreciate how this song has some of the most personal content on the album.

Illness steppin' in, and I can't heal it with medicine
Seein' all my doctors, brain surgery they recommend
Depression just settled in, now it's God I'm questionin'
Where is your protection, did you just let the Devil in?
God, do you see me? I'm beggin' you to free me
It's like you let my demons handcuff, rob, and beat me
Illness takin' over, I'm debilitated weekly
Sometimes the pain is daily as I watch my faith bleed me

The hook is pretty solid too. I think the background vocals from Tiffany Michele sound great. This is actually one of the better songs on the album to me honestly. I don’t have any gripes with it. I think it’s dope.

This is a good album. I think Kastaway is a very competent MC, and he’s actually pretty good at crafting fleshed out songs too. None of the tracks here felt incomplete. There are a couple songs here that I won’t be returning to in the future, but I don’t think they’re particularly bad. They just don’t appeal to me personally. I think all of the features came through with nice performances, and Kastaway’s flow was consistently pretty impressive. The production is pretty good for the most part as well. Again, nothing about this album really stood out in an especially bad way. I think it’s dope. Check it out.

Favorite Song: Shine
Least Favorite Song: Living My Life


Grade: B-

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