Don’t Sleep | AJ Suede – Oil on Canvas

Don’t sleep on this latest album from AJ Suede. He had already put out two dope projects earlier this year, but on August 5th he dropped this self-produced album, and it’s really dope. This was my first time hearing any of AJ Suede’s production, and I have to say I came away pretty impressed. Not only are the beats sufficient, but I’d actually say they are a major selling point of this project.


Since this isn’t really a full review, I’ll just write about a handful of my favorite tracks. The first highlight for me is entitled Eye of Horus, and it has a stellar feature from Blass 89. Speaking of Blass 89, he put out a really dope EP produced by Deleteeglitch called This Is Fine earlier this year. Definitely check that shit out if you haven’t heard it yet. Anyway, this song has a really dark, kind of intense, yet melodic instrumental that I really love. Blass 89 murdered the first verse too.

Nobody's safe, all stays the same, casualties walkin' through the lawn
The grass is greener but blood finds a way to stain it
I refrain from using my name when I try to make connections
Mom told me, "there's consequences for every action
I'm just hear to make sure you learn your lesson"

He’s got a really off-kilter flow and unique approach to rhyming that will probably be an acquired taste for a lot of people, but I personally really dig it. I think he killed this shit. I really like the way AJ Suede’s flow sounded over this beat too. He really killed this shit. I feel like this song would hit best at night. It has a nice sound for driving around when it’s dark. It’s a dope song. The following track is called Nothing Free, and it’s got one of my favorite beats on the album honestly.


I love how smooth and laid back this instrumental is. I feel like it would be a good song to shmoke to. AJ Suede’s smooth voice sounds perfect over this beat. I feel like Lync Lone would be a great choice for a feature if he ever decides to remix this song. AJ’s verse is really good though.

I'ma need the sky box
I'ma need a filter for the psyops
I'ma need to dox the grand cyclops
Raspberry pie shop
Float around the house like M.O.D.O.K.
But without assistance from a robot
No handlebars like a Flobot
And I'm bunny hoppin' over road blocks
Balanced on the median
Cost free thirty or a five finger discount
Death punch, don't confuse this for bohemian

I like the song even more now than I initially did when I first heard it. It’s really dope. It’s followed by Waking Up, which has features from Eldon Somers & Pink Navel. I really love the melodic, lighthearted, warm, cheerful sounding production on this track. I think this song has one of Suede’s best performances on the album too. I feel like his flow seemed more aggressive than usual.

Scoville rating through the roof on the hot wings
Pull up on a loftwing, smoke and watch boxing
Keep a small circle and we locked in
For every single job I ever clocked in
I'ma need the time back, you know how we rockin'
Rollin', niggas under bridges, trollin'
It's a funny business, know this
Can I get a witness? Notice
With a little hocus, pocus
Word to Great Milenko
Try to build houses on sinkholes
When the Earth is hungry it can eat you in a blink though
I can see it coming, you can tell me what you think though

I like how the last rhyme kinda leads into the following verse from Eldon Somers too. Eldon fucking killed this shit, man. I think Eldon Somers probably had the best verse on the song. That’s saying a lot too because AJ Suede & Pink Navel rapped really well. The whole song is really dope, and definitely one of the best tracks on the album in my opinion. Marathon Mile has another one of my favorite instrumentals on the album. The beat is just super mellow and relaxing. I love it. I love how AJ Suede kinda switched his flow up on this track too.

Everybody can't make it runnin' a marathon mile
Just enjoy it and smile, you could be here for a while
But we here for the now, and we still plan for the future
But you needed a tutor, couldn't work a computer

It’s just a really smooth, laid back track that I really fuck with. I think the song’s super dope. The next track I wanna talk about is called White Rabbits Emerald Tablets. It’s got a really cool beat that I feel like Iceberg Theory would sound great over. It makes me think of Alice in Wonderland for some reason. Maybe it’s a subconscious thing just because white rabbits are mentioned in the title. I don’t know. Well, AJ does kinda reference it in the lyrics.

One pill makes you larger, one makes you smaller
One makes you super sided like Amanda Waller

I think I misquoted that couplet, but it is what it is. Anyway, I really fuck with this track despite the straightforward song structure. It’s just one verse over a dope beat, but the verse is really nice. I think this song is dope. It’s followed by a major highlight entitled Watchers, which features Zilla Rocca. This song might actually have my favorite beat on the album. I love the piano loop, and the weird vocals in the background remind me of Ol’ Dirty Bastard. I feel like any Wu-Tang member would sound right at home over this beat.

Peace to my supporter evangelicals
All the good work that you do on my behalf is incredible
For the other cheapskates workin' for the deep state
Thoughts weigh a ton like I'm jugglin' some free weights
Mass acceleration is the way to measure gravity
Hoodlum been intelligent, listenin' to Tragedy

I love the way Zilla Rocca comes in right behind him too.

Tragedy Khadafi, Annunaki stopping goals like hockey
Roll the dice and get marked, Steven Grant or Jake Lockley
West Philly undergrads drinkin' saki, sophisticated
You underground, pissin' razors
I told you twice that bad news come from favors
Parkin' lot style sellin' prescription drugs to ravers
And watch them fake it, gettin' high off claritin
Critics came and went like Matt Saracen

This is probably my second favorite song on the album. It’s dope as hell. My number one favorite song on the album, however, is the penultimate track, Wonder. It feels like the climax of the album. It features Rich Jones & Bloodmoney Perez, who both do a phenomenal job here. The beat is really lighthearted and energetic. It feels kind of Christmasy in a way too. I love the drums that come in when AJ starts rhyming. One of my favorite lines on the album is in his verse too.

Napoleon Dynamite should've won an Oscar

AJ Suede spittin’ facts. I agree. I love that movie. The vocals from Rich Jones on the hook are glorious. He sounds smooth as hell. I love it. His actual verse was fire too. He sounds perfect over this instrumental. I don’t think AJ could’ve chosen a better feature for this track. Bloodmoney Perez of course killed the final verse too.

All gas, rare breaks
All I ask is give my ass a fair shake
Swivel on, stared straight
I don't look over shoulders, don't step over cracks
Respect to my mother even when she beat my ass
Lesson is unlocked when we've fallen over wax
The world's sinking quick, but I'm slow with the raps
Rather give it to you, time, so you digest the fat
Trippin' over patterns over muddy syntax

Again, this feels like the climax of the album. I think it’s dope as hell.


This album is really damn good. I honestly like this one even more than his preceding project. Like I said earlier in the body of this review, the production from AJ Suede is actually a major selling point of this album in my opinion. The instrumentals here are really entertaining. Even the two tracks that didn’t feature any vocals were enjoyable for me. There’s not a single song on this album that I don’t like. AJ’s rapping is as good as ever, and the guests all added a lot to the songs they were featured on. I really don’t have any consistent gripes with this project honestly. I feel like if you’ve been a fan up to this point, there’s no reason you won’t enjoy this album. It’s dope.

Favorite Song: Wonder
Least Favorite Song: Growing Diamonds

78

Grade: B

Tell me if I'm trippin'

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