This album was released on January 6th this year. AJ Suede was one of the more prolific artists that I discovered in 2022. He released four albums, and all of them were good. The first project I ever heard from him was his collaborative record with producer Televangel, Metatron’s Cube, which is still my favorite album from him. Usually his albums are either self-produced or entirely produced by one other artist, but this album right here is different. This is the first album I’ve heard from him that contains work from multiple different producers. It’s cool that AJ is experimenting with different approaches to crafting an album. That keeps things exciting. This is one of the first notable releases of the year, so I was looking forward to it a lot.
The album begins with a track called Black Mesa Incident, which is produced by Wolftone. I don’t think I was familiar with them prior to hearing this track, but I ended up really enjoying their work here. The beat sounds kind of cartoonish in my opinion. I think AJ Suede rapped really well here too. I feel like this is one of the better verses I’ve heard from him in a while. His flow felt relatively aggressive. I also appreciated the diss to Ron Desantis
Middle of the Summer, but the snow falls
Devil got a dry scalp, tryna dodge dandruff
Freedom of my speech, you a bitch like Desantis
The song’s got a really straightforward structure, so there’s not a ton to break down here. It’s pretty much just one verse with no hook or bridge or anything like that. Everything here is really well done though. I also thought it was cool how he included a clip of Ken & Myke C-Town from Dead End Hip Hop talking about how “AJ Suede is dope.” I agree. So is this song. I fuck with this shit. The second track is called Thoth.
This one features an instrumental from Khrist Koopa, who’s another producer I’d never heard of prior to checking out this project. I honestly like the beat on this track even more than the preceding one though. It kinda reminds me of something that The Expert would produce. I like how AJ Suede kind of approached the verse on this song with a different flow than the one he usually employs.
Foot on your neck, keep these little niggas in check
You get no respect, smack your whole team and your set
Clean off your neck, leave you only shoulders and chest
If you do the Macarena you'll be skippin' some steps
Again, the song’s got a super straightforward structure, but thankfully the verse itself was entertaining enough to keep me interested in the song. I think this is another really dope track. The following song is entitled Mount Saint Helen, and it’s produced by Small Professor. I love the beat on this track. It’s probably the weirdest instrumental up to this point on the record. It’s not so weird that it’s inaccessible though. I appreciate how bouncy AJ Suede’s flow is on this track. His vocal delivery feels different here too. He sounds more energetic here than usual. I enjoyed the lyrics quite a bit too, especially on the outro.
Every cloud in Seattle got a black linin'
Even now in the dirt you'll find black diamonds
Every cloud blocks the sun, so there's no shinin'
Anyhow, all these mountains I'm still climbin'
This track is slightly different from the first two in terms of structure just because of the refrain on the outro. It’s a really dope song overall. Track 4 is called Weaponize, and it’s produced by Argov. I love the beat on this track. I like it even more than the preceding material. I really appreciate AJ Suede’s video game references in this track too. I liked that line where he called himself a young sensei playing Shin Megami Tensei even though I personally never played that game. I also liked the line where he said he spits hot fire like Dylan or Entei. The beat kinda switches up at one point towards the end of the song. I like how he used the term “ass clown.” That made me laugh.
Might've watched every single Master P interview
Tryna steal advice between advertisement interludes
But it's criminal how these no-talent ass clowns
Get more coverage than the hustlers
Mind went blank, started thinkin' 'bout what they did to Tulsa
Gotta get revenge systematically
Seen a lot of casualties
Why I don't make friends casually
Rather be ducked off, workin' on a masterpiece
After the verse ends, the original beat comes back on, which is cool. I really love the chill instrumental on this song, and I think AJ Suede definitely did it justice. This is probably my favorite song up to this point on the record. I think it’s really dope. It’s followed by 1000 Island, which is produced by HaNN_11. I’m not super familiar with this producer, but I have enjoyed their work with artists like Henny L.O. and Sleep Sinatra in the past. The beat on this track in particular is really pretty. It’s kind of weird though. I feel like it would be hard to rap over, but AJ Suede managed to pull it off. This is tied with Weaponize as the longest song on the album, but neither of them feel like they overstay their welcome. They’re both still pretty short. I really like the line where he says, “every small business asks me if I want the usual.” I think that’s a clever way to say you frequently support small businesses. Once again, there’s just one verse on this track, followed by a refrain for the outro, which is pretty nice.
Think less, do more
Try to send for me, I'ma send you to the store
Shit that I endured written in the Art of War
So I think less, and do more
I like this song, but it’s not as great as the preceding few in my opinion. I just don’t love the beat as much as the others. I mean, I definitely like it to some extent. It’s just not one of my favorites. It’s a good song overall though. I fuck with it. Track 6 is called Vision Board, and it’s produced by Morriarchi, who I’d never heard of prior to listening to this album. The production here is actually really awesome though. This track definitely has one of my favorite beats on the album. It’s jazzy, melodic, and chill. I love it. The verse from AJ Suede is pretty nice too. Again, his flow was kinda different here, which I appreciate. The production is the main aspect that stands out to me since the song is pretty much structured the same way as the preceding material. This track is really dope, and definitely one of my favorites on the project. Shoutout to Morriarchi. I’m gonna have to keep an eye on them in the future because they really impressed me here. The following track is entitled Gratuity, and it’s got another beat from HaNN_11. Once again, I really love the production here. There’s almost zero percussion. The beat is just this really nice, almost festive-sounding loop. It sounds kind of Christmasy to me. AJ Suede killed this shit too. I loved that line where he said the beat has that new hearse smell. That was a dope line. I definitely like this beat a lot more than the first one HaNN_11 provided to this project, but they’re both good. This one’s just a little more entertaining to me. They’re both kind of weird instrumentals, but I feel like this one is a bit more accessible. This one would be enjoyable even if there were no vocals over it, and I don’t know if I can say the same thing about the other beat that HaNN_11 provided. Anyway, overall I think it’s a really dope song. The penultimate track is called Clearly, and this was probably the most exciting song in the tracklist for me just because it features a beat from Bloodblixing. I wouldn’t say I’m super familiar with his work, but I really fucked with that Iceberg Theory collaboration that he did. Thankfully, his production here did not disappoint. Once again, the beat sounds kind of festive and Christmasy to me, but in a good way. I guess I like when songs have a jazzy sound that remind me of Christmas music. Songs like War by Nas and Life Is Like a Musical by Andre 3000 have that effect on me, and I love those songs. Okay, I just listened to that Andre 3000 song again, and it doesn’t sound as Christmasy as I remember. I know at one point it reminded me of the holiday season though. Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked. The point is that I really love this instrumental. I think it’s fantastic. AJ Suede sounded perfect over it too.
That gives me some immunity
Love for the community
Numb for that false sense of unity
Every day my hustle is consuming me
Nowadays I often get reminded
I need to text back, it's not personal
It's really not personal
Caution, all the sharks start to circle you
All praise due to the merciful
Just in case they lurk for you
I think I misquoted some of those lines, but I tried my best to transcribe them accurately. Again, this song has a very straightforward structure—just one verse with no hook or bridge or anything like that. It’s a really dope track though. I fuck with it. The closing song is entitled Marian Apparition, and it’s produced by Evilldewer. I think this beat is pretty awesome. It’s like a less commercial version of something A$AP Rocky would’ve used for Long.Live.A$AP. Once again, this song is structured the same way as most of the preceding tracks, so there’s just one verse. It’s a dope performance from AJ Suede though.
Only time you ill is with intentions
Had to jump dimensions
Cult of personality, ascension
Made an impact like Genshin
Wander like Kenshin
Ponder my reflection
Every single mirror is a portal
On the other side is a mortal
Two Hail Marys, one act of contrition
Wakanda kush vision
Beyond the bush living
Survived the Bush era by the skin of your teeth
I tried to stay civil, no candlelight vigils
I'm comin' for the forces that are causing me grief
I really fuck with this track. I think it works well as a closer to this project. It’s dope.
This album is really good. I’d actually say it’s one of the best projects I’ve heard from AJ Suede. It’s arguably his best since Metatron’s Cube. It’s between this one and Oil on Canvas for me. That one was also really good. I think the main reason I enjoyed this one so much is just that the production was so good. I thoroughly enjoyed all the beats on this project. One thing that I think definitely would’ve pushed this album to the next level would be if there was more ambition and diversity in the song structures. Pretty much every song is just one verse with nothing else going on. It’s still enjoyable because the rapping is really good, but it just would’ve been more exciting with more variation. Shoutout to all the producers that contributed to this project. Everyone came through with a really entertaining instrumental. I really fuck with this album. If you’re a fan of AJ Suede you don’t wanna miss this one. The title is fitting because I feel like these tracks would all be good to play while shmoking. It’s a really dope album. Check it out.