Album Review | Rav – LEAP

This album was released on March 15th this year. It’s supposedly a companion piece to I’M ON TO ME, which was one of my favorite albums of 2020. In fact, it’s actually one of my favorite albums period. It doesn’t even feel like it’s been that long since it came out to me, but I guess that’s because I play it so much. It still feels fresh. Rav is an artist who really puts his heart and soul into his music, so I think that’s why it resonates with me so much. As someone who struggles with mental health issues, I can relate to a lot of the feelings expressed in his work. Not only do I really fuck with his personal lyricism, but I just think he has a really nice voice for rapping. He always sounds good on the mic. He’s also a funny dude. Him & Kill Bill never fail to make me laugh. Since I loved his last album so much, I’m really expecting this project to be great. I’ll be shocked if I don’t like it to some extent.

The album begins with a highlight entitled Post-Timeskip Clarity. I really love the weird, dark production on this song. The percussion kinda reminds me of the title track to that JPEGMAFIA & Danny Brown album that came out this year. The verse on this song is really nice. I love the dark, depressive lyricism.

What's the difference between the options of the soil
Within which the worms will feast upon as auxiliary spoils
It don't matter to me, not no more I've had it with me
What if you cut my batteries and drain me of my oil?

My favorite part of the song is probably the line about him cutting his wrist in the bathroom. I mean, that’s really dark, fucked up stuff. I’ve been there before though, so I get it. The one nitpick I have with this song is the outro in which he spells out the word “melancholy.” On paper, there’s nothing wrong with it. However, he spelled the word wrong. I’m not sure if it’s intentional or not, and it’s not like it ruins the song or anything. It’s just kinda distracting once you notice it. Anyway, I really enjoyed this song, and it had me excited to hear what the rest of the album would sound like. I think it’s dope as hell. The following track is another highlight entitled Half-Silvered. In terms of production alone, this is probably my favorite song on the album. I really love the dreamy instrumental here. The rapping is really interesting too. The whole concept of being judged through a one-way mirror was really cool to me.

When you step away from the glass I don't disappear
My life ain't an anecdote
You're not entitled to my smile, yo, let's get it clear
I don't owe you shit, certainly not my love
Somedays you give me the strength to hold the sky up
Other days you drain me of my blood

The hook doesn’t really stick with me personally, but I’m not gonna pretend to have an issue with it. It’s just kinda there to serve as a decent break between the verses. I’m not exactly sure who the subject of this song is. It kinda reads as a letter to fans who kinda strip artists of their humanity. It could also be about a toxic friendship though. Either way I find it pretty interesting. Again, the production is phenomenal, and the lyrical content had me hooked. I think this song is dope as hell. The following track is a single entitled My Bag.

Once again, I really love the production. It kinda sounds like something that could be in an old video game. In fact, a lot of the instrumentals on this album reminded me of Earthbound for whatever reason. This song actually really grew on me. I knew I liked it on my first listen, but now I love it. Rav’s flow on this track is really nice, and this song easily has my favorite hook on the whole project. It gets stuck in my head every time I hear it now. I really love the line in the first verse about running 100 miles. That was fire. Lyrically, my favorite part of the song is the third verse.

I haven't actually healed
In fact, I would go on to say I'm now half just as well
As I was years ago when in battle I fell
And succumbed to the shadows
My parents did cast which I then helped grow at an elaborate scale
Self-sabotage embedded in my code
Feed these demons is all that I know

If we’re judging every song strictly on a sonic level, this is probably my favorite track on the album. It really grew on me. I think it’s dope as hell. The next track is called Agent Orange, and it features Heems of Das Racist. This isn’t really a highlight for me, but I definitely like it to some extent. The actual rapping is what makes this song worth returning to. I don’t really care for the hook, but it’s not trash or anything. It’s my least favorite part of the song, but it’s still tolerable. The production is solid, but it’s not really the selling point of the track. This is the one song on the album where Rav is kinda just talking shit about wack rappers, which I appreciate. His flow is really nice here.

Vacant clones with vague components break
The hole within absolved of soul, and so a soul it takes
So and so would say that so and so is great
So insulting to the souls they imitate
Not acknowledging the culture, the set so and so portray
They just hopeless fakes
I don't buy into the hype or the applause they claim
Nor the occults they tamed

The second verse from Heems is actually pretty nice too. I haven’t ever listened to a Das Racist album, so I’ve only ever heard him on features. He did a good job here though. I enjoyed his performance. That line about how you’re an internet thug and he knows your login was nice. Overall, this is a pretty good song to me. Again, I don’t love the hook, and the production isn’t that great to me, but as a whole I enjoyed this one. It’s followed by Worth 2, which features Kill Bill & Scuare.

This is the only song on the album that I don’t see myself returning to in the future. Nothing about this track really stands out in a particularly bad way. I just don’t really love anything about it either. It’s the type of song that I can kind of enjoy while it’s on, but that I don’t have the desire to return to once it’s over. The production from Scuare isn’t really that great to me. I mean, it’s a fine instrumental. It just doesn’t stand out that much. All of the verses are solid. The lyrical content is uhh… It’s tough. It seems to be about a situation that I’m not really that familiar with, and I don’t feel comfortable commenting on it because I don’t think I have enough information. It’s unfortunate though. I’m sure EXO’s hardcore fan base will have a stronger opinion on it than I do. Overall, I think the song’s okay. Again, it doesn’t really have replay value for me, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near being a bad song. The next track is called Incorporeal. Once again, the production reminded me of retro video games. Particularly Donkey Kong Country. The hook on this track is really good. It kinda reminds me of the hook from Black Thought’s Aquamarine. The opening verse on this track is pretty fire too.

I've been taking acid, I've been taking shrooms
Posted up in vacant rooms
Tryna find an exit, but
There just ain't no breaking through
State the truth
I don't make the rules nor do I embrace the rules
I break them then I break and snooze
I pray my fall don't break my noose

This song actually grew on me a lot. I thought it was good on my first listen, but I like it a lot more now. The rapping is great, and same goes for the production. The hook really grew on me a lot too. I don’t think I liked it as much on my first listen. The second verse is really nice.

My past keeps kicking my ass
Present been slapping the face
I live convinced there's a chance
My future holds peace in its place

The song ends really abruptly, but you can tell it’s intentional. I don’t really mind it. I think the song’s dope overall. The next song is called The Skin i Live In, and it’s one of the best tracks on the album in my opinion. The production sounds kind of aquatic. It still has that retro video game sound that I noticed in the preceding material. Lyrically, this is one of the most relatable songs on the project. The entire thing is just about self-hatred and low self esteem.

All I do is take my L's
Pay my bills while I hate myself
Hate my thoughts and I hate my shell
Now grown used to the pain I feel

There are like three hooks on this song too, which I appreciate. This song has a really intricate structure. The second verse is probably my favorite part of the song. I love these lines.

Please don't touch me, please don't tease me
You don't want me, you don't need me
I feel ugly, I feel teeny
I keep stumbling, I feel sleepy

Again, this is one of the most relatable songs on the album. I love it. I think it’s dope as hell. The penultimate track is called CRYO, and it’s got another really dreamy instrumental that sounds like something from a Game Boy Advance game. This song is a significantly more simplistic structure than the preceding track. This one’s pretty much just two verses with a hook in between. The second verse contains what is arguably the most relatable line on the project.

If I were to disappear I wonder when they would notice

That’s something I’ve definitely questioned about myself a lot. Few things are more disheartening than coming back from a stay in the mental hospital to a dry phone. I often wonder if people will actually miss me after I’ve passed away, so this line really hit hard for me. Anyway, overall I really like this track. The production is really nice, and Rav’s writing had me hooked. The song’s dope. The closing track is called Me, Forever, and it’s easily my favorite track on the project. The whole track is just one beautifully written verse about moving on. I think this shit is amazing honestly. This is one of my favorite tracks of the year. The verse is amazing to me.

Don't get me wrong, I am not quite fixed yet
I'm moving on, but I am not forgetting
I'm entertaining a new proposition
That involves me living and evolving past the toxic prison
Of constantly seeking y'alls attention
I'ma stop pretending like I can't exist outside your eyes
Exist outside my pride
When the bridges burned down, I will survive
And I thrive
But when I don't, I'ma morph into your shape
Resorted to hyperbolized and porcelain mistakes
Awaken in my heart and only sourcing it for aid
That constitutes a great majority of forces in my way

The production is pretty amazing too despite its simplicity. There are no drums at all, which I appreciate. I just love the writing here. I think that’s the main reason I love this one so much. Also, the references to Rav’s previous work towards the end of the verse were really cool. I live for this shit. The song is dope as fuck.

This album is great. This is probably my second favorite solo Rav project now. Well, I don’t know actually. Vestiges really grew on me even more after I reviewed it. Maybe this project will do the same. Anyway, I really fuck with Rav’s production on this project. A lot of the beats remind me of retro video games, and it gives the album a really cool, consistent aesthetic. The themes of self-hatred, mental health struggles, and toxic relationships are of course very relatable for me. This is a very sad album, but, much like with I’M ON TO ME, the closing track provides a glimmer of hope and perseverance, which I really appreciate. Again, I really love how Rav is so vulnerable in his music. He really puts his heart and soul into his work. I think this is a great companion piece to Rav’s last album, and it has me curious to see what his next project will sound like. Is it gonna be like his latest couple of albums, or is he gonna do something completely different? I’m excited to find out. Anyway, check this project out, especially if you’re a fan of Rav. I think it’s really dope.

Favorite Song: Me, Forever
LEast Favorite Song: Worth 2


Grade: B+

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