i,i Bon Iver Album Review

Last week the world of indie rock was buzzing over Bon Iver’s album release: i,i. This is coming 3 years after the Eau Claire, Wisconsin based band released their experimental transition into folk-tronica, 22, a million. I was interested to see how they would follow up such an experimental yet beautifully crafted album.

i,i is Bon Iver’s 4th album and it is rumored it might be their last. This project started out infamously alone one winter in a cabin in the woods. Then thawed and bloomed with their self-titled album that brought 2 grammy’s. 22, a million endured the harsh rays of an electronic summer. Now as we are entering the fall, i,i seems like a fitting step for Bon Iver. Whatever happens in the future they’ve made some spectacular music.

i,i

Bon Iver really honed in on the sound they started to play with on their previous album. i,i opens with a sporadic noise intro that transitions in the first song “iMi”. The song itself starts a little mild but quickly develops into a very strong first track. “We” is a strange kanye-esque song that is just alright. Followed by “Holyfields” which is an ambient, rhythmic, soft jam that i really enjoy.

“Hey, Ma” was one of the first singles released a couple months ago. I thought the track was decent as a single but hearing it placed in the album really changed my opinion about it for the better. It’s the first pop-type song after 3 rather distinct opening tracks. It’s a really good song and features a nice soft ambient interlude that is common in many Bon Iver tracks.

the repeated act of self-discovery

Bon Iver has always been about Justin Vernon trying to discover himself. He has often song of isolation, anxiety and depression. He has used this music to find his voice and put his stamp on the world. Over the last decade, we have seen the changes in his life and music and caught a glimpse of the person behind the music.

“Naeem” is a powerful song where Vernon is almost screaming while beautifully banging on a piano. The refrain, “I can hear crying”, is repeated over and over. There is excellent instrumentation and good use of sparse electronics. It’s right in the middle of the album and the biggest song on the record.

Throughout i,i Vernon uses much more of his chest voice, compared to other albums where he sticks to his haunting falsetto. Vernons singing voice has been established over the last decade and sounds really good. “Naeem” ends with a beautiful chorus and a soft saxophone that is just amazing. Really well done song.

the last half

The second half of the album really comes together. The next three songs, “Jelmore”, “Faith”, “Marion”, compose my favorite section of the album. These three seem like the most Bon Iver sounding songs.

Vernon returns to his falsetto for “Salem” which is an uplifting powerful call for something more. “Sh’Diah”, which stand for “Shittiest Day in American History” (Nov. 9th, 2016) slows down but remains emotional. The instrumentation is marvelous and starts to bring the album to a close. The last song is “RABi”. It features great acoustic guitar with plenty surrounding it. Really wraps up the album well with the lyrics “Well its all fine and we’re all fine anyway”.

“The Big Day” album review

The Big Day, Chance the Rapper’s debut album, or OWBUM, as he prefers to stylize it, is a quintessential summer LP. With this release, Chance conveys a nostalgia for the summers of old; the endless summers of youth and adolescence.

At first, The Big Day feels a bit like a Tarantino film that could use some condensing. Although it is long, the length progresses the theme. With that in mind, the final cut of The Big Day can feel a bit overwhelming. At 22 tracks and 1 hour and 17 minutes in length, it’s an undertaking to sift through. But on subsequent listens the album seems to feel more whole, like one long summer vacation.

The bars are witty and inventive, fresh and “hot” like a summer day. Chance clearly wanted to showcase his talents and convey the clarity and peace of mind inherent to a summer vacation.

The second track, “Do You Remember”, with a hook performed by Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, primes the listener for this message:

  • “Do you remember how when we were younger the summers all lasted forever. Days disappeared into months, into years. Hold that feeling forever.”

As this hook concludes, a school bell rings. As a child, the feeling when that bell rang and school released for summer was incomparable.

Analysis

With 10 Day, Acid Rap, and Coloring Book under his belt, Chance was primed for a full LP release. Although, the months leading up to this album were somewhat tumultuous for Chance and his relationship with his fans. With the release of the single, “GrOceries”, far from a fan-favorite, Chance was faced with a split fanbase. Those who missed the quirky, loud, and funky ad-libs that stuck out on Acid Rap and were few and far between on Coloring Book, were worried by the direction the album might take given the poppy single.

It was rumored that Kanye West would include Chance in his string of seven track albums. This, like most of Kanye’s supposed recent work, has not come to fruition. It would be interesting to see a shorter album from Chance that harkens back to the style of 10 Day and Acid Rap, but The Big Day feels more thematic and polished compared to his mixtapes of old. This is a direction Chance has clearly been hoping to make for years.

As an artist, Chance has evolved and continues to do so. Acid Rap, the project that garnered him an almost cult-like following, was released on April 30th, 2013. Fast forward six years to July 26th, 2019, and Chance releases his first official album, The Big Day. With this album, July 26th was truly a big day for Chance and it’s exciting to witness his evolution through his unconventional route to success.

Standout tracks:

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The Hip Hop Drip Reviews: Bandana

June 28th marked the release of Bandana, the highly anticipated sequel to Freddie Gibbs and Madlib’s original collaborative project Piñata. Fans were elated when rumors began circulating about a follow up ‘MadGibbs’ collaboration, and as the singles started to drop, we knew exactly what we were in store for. This project possesses the same smooth elevator-style jazz samples characteristic of Madlib coupled with bars and storytelling from Gibbs that is on par with everything they have previously done together. As a whole, Bandana solidly delivers on what fans had been anxiously awaiting from the dynamic duo.

“Bandana presents an easy first listen with Piñata-esque samples for Gibbs to unleash on.”

If this is your first taste of a MadGibbs project, this album might seem a bit out of place in an industry that is dominated by the trap formula. However, I was happy to hear the same saucy samples, bars, and hard-hitting beats that made me such a fan of their first collaboration together. Bandana presents an easy first listen with Piñata-esque samples for Gibbs to unleash on.

Aside from the music, the album itself has natural flow from song to song, something that Madlib has always done beautifully in the past. He is a true genius when it comes to lining up a playlist as he often uses the juxtaposition of playful samples in transition to give his work the unique sound that has cemented him in hip hop history.

“A definite recommend for connoisseurs of hip hop”

After a few listens through Bandana there were admittedly a few songs that didn’t do it for me. Although, they were offset by some personal standout tracks. These tracks stood out to me because of the depth of their lyrics, like in the song “Practice”, where Gibbs laments on the guilt he feels toward the mother of his child. Another good example is his masterful flow on full display in the second verse of the song “Situations”.

I also really enjoyed Madlib’s use of the “minute-in beat switch” on this project. This is a formula that has worked out for Gibbs and Madlib in the past and they succeed in making it work again on a number of tracks throughout Bandana. Madlib’s production on the album in general is truly special. Songs like “Soul Right” and “Cataracts” leave you feeling high on life, and with a coveted Yassin Bey and Black Thought feature over a DOOM-style dark low piano sample, this album has numerous ‘playlist-worthy’ tracks.

Bandana is a definite recommend for connoisseurs of hip hop, or if for any reason at all for the stories that Gibbs has to tell. Freddie delivers a raw street sermon with themes of past relationships, questionable love from the world, resilience, growth, and thankfulness that make this a classic Gangsta Gibbs project.

“Bandana is what it is”

I’ve talked a lot about how this album compares in a good way to previous projects, but now I want to take a look back at some of the noticeable weaknesses. My first concern was the apparent lack of featured artists. It’s not that Freddie Gibbs can’t hold down a whole project on his own, but to say that I wasn’t a little disappointed with the lack of featuring artists would be a lie. In particular, we are missing a cypher track on this project like there was on Piñata, and that was a bit of a let down.

Although I would consider this to be a very strong album cover to cover, there is a noticeable difference in the strength of the last half of the album versus the first 7 or 8 songs. If you are new to Gibbs and Madlib’s work together, then the last half of the album would be a good place to start, where some of Madlib’s less savory and more experimental tracks will not turn you away to begin with.

Bandana is what it is. The project is not chocked full of club bangers or tracks that are particularly suited for hitting the gym. Whether you consider that a weakness or not is not is obviously a matter of personal opinion. Regardless, Bandana is definitely worth a listen in my book and another entry into Gibbs’ impressive portfolio of projects.

“For fans, Bandana is an instant classic”

Freddie Gibbs has an incredibly impressive discography on his own that is 100% worth digging into, but working with Madlib on Piñata in 2015 ushered in a new era for Gibbs’ career and as an artist. Working with an OG like Madlib has seemingly allowed for him to let his potential as an artist run wild, having dropped numerous classic albums since then including Shadow of a Doubt, You Only Live 2wice, and Freddie. With that said, for fans Bandana is an instant classic that represents a continuation of the artistic journey and progression Gibbs is only in the midst of.

Hip Hop Drip Highlighted Tracks

“Soul Right”

“Situations”

“Practice”

Full length review

In addition to this written review, the Hip Hop Drip also recorded a full length podcast review. Click this link to listen to that!

 

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“Injury Reserve” Review: Self-titled album makes underground waves

Intro

Injury Reserve has been tearing up the underground scene with mixtapes since 2013 with a repertoire of hits and 2 lead up-singles before the release of their debut album. The timing for its release almost went under the radar due to being the same day as Tyler, the Creator’s IGOR, but the group almost relishes in its underdog status among the music industry

The trio, Steppa J. Groggs, Ritchie with a T, and producer Parker Cory come together on this debut LP in a show of unison to release some of the strongest songs the group has put out to date. With gritty lyrics and grimy, mechanical production Injury Reserve establishes itself as one of the most experimental and trendsetting projects of 2019 for better or worse. Without further adieu, let’s get right into it.

Listening through

We open up with “Koruna & Lime” with a grinding synth line which establishes a tone for the experimental nature of the rest of the album. As their first full commercial debut the group sets itself apart with the off-kilter beats to keep the listener following along. 

This continues to “Jawbreaker”one of the singles released before the album. Layered vocal hooks of Pro Teens sets an offset beat and cruel melody for which the song sits on. It accentuates Ritchie’s talent of witty observational comedy and rap. The track starts with him making fun of Instagram accounts used to sell clothing, then it effortlessly turns into a fast-paced rap track. It that almost overtakes the beat in the best way possible. The track also features up and coming female rapper Rico Nasty showcasing her ability as an MC. It adds a much needed flare of personality and contrast to the common culture of hip hop.

The other single,“Jailbreak The Tesla”, also does a great job showcasing the group’s weirdness. When first hearing the song name I was amused and also immediately noticed the Aminé feature. He is a frequent collaborator with the group, previously featuring them on his single “Campfire”. The track uses a deconstructed melody sample of “Tokyo Drift” by Teriyaki Boyz, a hit single from the Fast and Furious movies. The entire track gives an eerie, high-tec futuristic racing vibe through a series of random bleeps, bloops and vocal shifting. This is a true testament to Parker Cory’s skill of being able to create a solid melody out of this mash-up of sounds. The track also hosts to Aminé’s funniest line yet to me: “Elon on them shrooms/ And Grimes’ voice gon’ be the GPS (Turn left)”

This track is immediately followed up with “Gravy n’ Biscuits”It is a step-back from the intense production we’ve been hearing to a more laid back jazz rap beat. Groggs also shines on this track with more rhyming couplets then you’d know what do with and possibly one of the catchiest hooks they’ve done to date. 

It would be remiss to not mention “Rap Song Tutorial”. It is a comedy skit with Ritchie simplifying the rap music-making process to a 5 step tutorial narrated by Siri. I’d be a liar if I did not say the infectious hook “FIGHT ME” has been stuck in my head while writing this.

From here on, “Wax On” featuring Freddie Gibbs is superb and shows off Freddie’s versatility on just about any beat. Speeding and slowing his flow as the song goes, he establishes himself in the forefront of lyrical rappers in the 2010’s. Another highlight was Ritchie coming to terms with his song meanings and interactions with a fan on “Best Spot in the House”. It was a cool touching moment you don’t often see from the more standoffish character that Ritchie can be. The other songs around this 2/3rds point didn’t stand out too much to me apart from the finale. The DRAM feature on the RnB-esque “New Hawaii” was novel at best. I found the song to almost drag on for too long. 

Speaking of that, the finale track “Three Man Weave” is probably my favorite song on the record. It’s the smoothest joint on the album. It time-traveled me to “S on Ya Chest” or some of the other laid-back tracks a la the albums Floss and Live from the Dentist Office. Rightfully so the track features the gang reminiscing on where they’ve been and how far they are now. A solid ending.

Standout tracks

Sick tracks: “Koruna & Lime”, “Jawbreaker” (feat. Rico Nasty & PRO TEENS), “GTFU” (feat. JPEGMAFIA & Cakes Da Killa), “Jailbreak the Tesla” (feat. Amine), “Rap Song Tutorial”, “Wax On” (feat. Freddie Gibbs), “Three Man Weave”.

Meh tracks: “What a Year It’s Been”, “New Hawaii”

Overall impression

Overall, this album has outstanding production and lyrics. They set it apart from the rest and gives a welcoming breath of freshness to the genre. You can tell the group really wanted to set themselves apart and they did just that. Although the album drags for a little bit, they still pick it up at the end. This self-titled debut is exactly what they wanted to put out in just how uncompromising and experimental the project is.

Rating: 4.3/5

“IGOR” review: Tyler, The Creator creates one for the ages

I recently wrote a piece about why Tyler The Creator completely finessed his way into the position he has in the rap game. If you are confused as to what I mean by that, you should check out that post before reading this one. It details his rocky rise to stardom and the progression that he has shown since jumping onto the scene 10 years ago.

Tyler first announced his new album IGOR in early May 2019 after a report leaked that showed he had an album on the way before June 1st. The rollout for the album consisted of him dropping snippets of some of the tracks on YouTube and Instagram as a way to hype the fans up. He also dropped a few merch packs containing some interesting items for those that are interested.  

Needless to say, the album has finally materialized and I cannot wait to jump right in and listen. Here is my review of Tyler The Creator’s latest album IGOR.  

First impressions

  • The Good: On my first listen through this album, I was honestly stunned at how sonically pleasing it is. Each track has different musical elements that are very pleasing to the ear. Tyler’s flow is as crisp as ever and he even breaks new ground on this album. I’m really enjoying the project thus far.
  • The Bad: The only knock I can see is that a few of the tracks sound a bit similar. There are some tracks that mainly consist of very heavy base with other little elements in the background. These tracks are good in their own way, but may be slightly boring to those who don’t like that sound.  

Lyrics/Flow

  • The Good: As I mentioned, the flows on each track are very good and fit the vibes very well. The subject matter is interesting in itself and discusses themes such as love, relationships, and life in general. There is also a decent amount of singing sprinkled into the project. It really compliments the rapping and makes the tracks stand out even more.
  • The Bad: The only negative I can see in this category is that there aren’t too many new themes discussed. We’ve heard Tyler talk about love and his relationships before, but it doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the project. It is just a small knock on an otherwise exceptional album.   
  • Score: 8/10

Beats

  • The Good: To put it simply, the beats are the best part of this project. Each one has its own distinct feel while also sticking to a constant theme. They just work and sound great. The entire album was produced by Tyler, as with most of his previous work, but something feels different. T got to a new level on 2017’s Flower Boy, but I think he leveled his production game up even further on IGOR. We also see him explore some new sounds yet again, which is always a highlight of his projects.  
  • The Bad: As mentioned in the intro, a few of the tracks sound similar in terms of the beat and that may annoy some listeners. Even if they do sound a bit similar, that does not ignore the fact that they sound great and carefully crafted.  
  • Score: 9/10

Replayability

  • The Good: Over the course of his career, Tyler The Creator has been working very hard to make his projects more concise and cut out extra tracks that may not be necessary. He does just that on this album due to it clocking in at 12 tracks. The project has no filler and each track brings its own vibes due to the different sounds. This will be an album that ages well due to the diversity it contains.  
  • The Bad: If you aren’t a big Tyler fan, you may see this as just another one of his random sounding albums. And admittedly, it is random sounding at times. But that isn’t a bad thing if each track is quality and has a place on the album. I recommend that every hip hop fan give this album at least one listen.  
  • Score: 8.5/10

Standouts

Final thoughts

As I wrote in my previous post about Tyler The Creator, it’s crazy to me that he released Bastard nearly 10 years ago. He has shown so much growth in those 10 years and it is very admirable. On IGOR, he continued with that growth in the best way possible.

What I already love so much about this new album is how it stands out all on its own among his discography. None of these songs sound like anything else that Tyler has ever made and will probably ever make again. He said that this album is supposed to stand out from the rest and he definitely delivered on that. Here is what he said on Instagram the day before the album came out:  

Besides maybe Flower Boy, IGOR is easily the best album that Tyler The Creator has ever made. It simply shows a beautiful artistic progression while also allowing him to be true to who he has been all along. To put it simply, an album is great when it actually serves its purpose and delivers on all of your expectations and more.

IGOR has the ability to evoke many emotions and helps you to think deeply about love, relationships, and what it all means to love. That’s what makes it a fantastic album. It is the best album from a primarily hip hop artist thus far in 2019. It stands out among Tyler’s discography and among the work that his peers are creating due to the creativity and experimental sounds it contains. I would highly recommend giving this project a shot because it isn’t your average everyday album, it truly is something special.

Final Score: 8.8/10    

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“CrasH Talk” review: ScHoolboy Q hits listeners with interesting new album

The day is finally here. We’ve been blessed with a new ScHoolboy Q project for the first time in almost three years. I couldn’t be more excited to dive into this album as Q has been able to maintain a spot in my personal top 10 hip hop artist list since he first dropped Oxymoron in 2014. 2016’s Blank Face LP may be a tough project to follow up, but myself and many others believe that ScHoolboy Q can without a doubt do it.    

If you are wondering why it took so long for CrasH Talk to come out, there are a variety of reasons that may have contributed to the long time period between releases. As I wrote in my ScHoolboy Q album wishlist piece, label politics and personal issues may have had an influence on this project’s release date. Regardless, this project has been quite hyped up by the hip hop community and we’re all ready to hear it.

Let’s jump right into CrasH Talk and see what Q has for us in 2019.

First impressions

  • The Good: During my listen to this album, it is quite different than any other ScHoolboy Q project. It has a mix of different styles during different parts of the album and it is pretty interesting. We’ll see how it ends up sitting with me during additional listens.  
  • The Bad: The only negative I see on the project is that some of the songs feel a bit generic and uninspired. For example: the ones that sound exactly like they are reaching for radio play (“CHopstix and “Lies” specifically). If you listen to Q for party bangers, these tracks right here are great for that. They aren’t terrible songs but they do bring the overall quality of the project down a bit in my opinion.   

Lyrics/Flow

  • The Good: A staple of most of Q’s past music was his amazing and unique storytelling ability. Luckily we see a decent amount of deep and conceptual songs on this project. These tracks really shine and show his value in the hip hop community. His flow is impeccable on most of the tracks and we even hear a few new flows here and there.  
  • The Bad: As I mentioned before, a few tracks are quite generic and have the same old subject matter as a lot of the popular rap songs out right now. The flows are good on these songs but the actual lyrics don’t stand out from other songs out there right now. I respect that Q went with a bit of a different direction but I’d much rather hear more personal tracks from him in the future again.  
  • Score: 7.7/10

Beats

  • The Good: The best thing about this project is that we see ScHoolboy Q stick to the kinds of beats that he is good over while also trying out some new styles. While we didn’t get to hear him over soulful beats like I wrote in my album wishlist piece, I can still say that the beats are very good on this album and they met my expectations.
  • The Bad: Man, I really don’t understand why every rapper (even the non-trap artists) feels the need to make trap bangers on their album. If they have a great niche sound that works for them and makes them sound great, maybe they should stick with that the majority of the time. Q used a few too many trap beats on this album for my taste and I think it makes the quality suffer a bit.  
  • Score: 7/10

Replayability

  • The Good: Another great thing that I’ve found about this new album is that it is quite a pleasant and fairly short listen. It clocks in at 39 minutes over a perfect number of 14 tracks. I like that it was kept more concise instead of including bonus tracks that ruin the pacing.  
  • The Bad: To be honest, if you aren’t a fan of ScHoolboy Q making trap bangers you might not like this album or want to listen to it more than once. I understand that label pressure may have pushed Q to include these types of songs on the project, so I can’t fault him too much for it. I still enjoy the project but I understand that others may not in the end.  
  • Score: 7.4/10

Standouts

Final thoughts

It is absolutely crazy that we had to wait almost three years for this album to come out. It feels like just yesterday that Blank Face LP came out. A lot has changed in Q’s life and we can see that reflected in his music.

I’m not disappointed with this album. In fact, I actually quite enjoyed it. It is by no means perfect and it has a few tracks that I feel didn’t really need to be included, but mostly it is really good. Q tried something new in terms of what beats he rapped over and the artists that he enlisted for features. He says that he is happy with this album and that this is a new phase in his career and I must say that I am too. It is always good to see an artist step out of their comfort zone while also continuing to do what they are good at.

Honestly, I would consider this project a bit of a regression from the near-masterpiece that was Blank Face LP but it was pretty good nonetheless. If you like Q you should mostly like this album and if you’re just getting into him I’d suggest you check out Oxymoron and Blank Face LP before this project. Overall, I think that this album is solid and is one of the best of this slow 2019 thus far. It won’t blow your socks off, but if you like ScHoolboy Q you should like this project and I would recommend checking it out.  

Final Score: 7.4/10

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“Ventura” review: Anderson .Paak is back in tip-top shape on fourth album

In case you didn’t know it by now, Anderson .Paak is a star in the music game. He’s already released a modern classic (as some would call it) in his second album Malibu. But where did he come from in the first place?

 The weird thing about him is how he seemingly came out of nowhere, but was here all along. .Paak has been around since 2009, working with the likes of Dr. Dre, ScHoolboy Q, Flying Lotus, The Game, and Kendrick Lamar since then. Many have grown to love his unique voice and his ear for instrumentation. But fans and music critics alike have begun to wonder if .Paak can replicate the quality of his album Malibu due to the mixed reviews of its follow-up Oxnard in 2018.

   On Ventura it seems like .Paak is ready to prove himself yet again. Let’s dive right in and see if he can do that on his fourth studio album.

First impressions

  • The Good: On my first listen through the album, I was amazed at the sonic direction that .Paak went with this time around. It is so different from his last album Oxnard and that isn’t a bad thing at all. The project gives off more of a late 70s-early 80s vibe with disco/funk influences and it’s a really nice change of pace from his previous work.
  • The Bad: The only bad thing I can see thus far with this album is that it is simply too short. It doesn’t drag at all due to the fact it’s only 11 songs long, and I would have much rather preferred a few more songs just to see how far Anderson could take this sound.  

Lyrics/Flow

  • The Good: On this project we hear .Paak utilizing his beautiful singing voice in a variety of different ways. We also get the opportunity to hear him rap a little bit, but the rapping doesn’t overpower the singing like on some of the songs on Oxnard. It is a really good mix and there is something for everyone in this collection of songs.   
  • The Bad: While the singing/rapping is very good on the project, the subject matter is a bit lacking. Most of the tracks have similar concepts that we’ve already heard .Paak discuss in detail in the past. That isn’t terrible, but I would have loved to hear some new ideas fleshed out in these tracks.  
  • Score: 7.7/10

Beats

  • The Good: As I mentioned before, it seems that Anderson .Paak went with a more 70s-80s classic R&B/funk feel. Once you listen through the whole project, you’ll definitely feel that. The beats on this project just resonate a different energy that makes the listener actually feel something. They convey the emotion that .Paak is trying to get across in each track and I applaud him for that.  
  • The Bad: Even though most of the project is new sonic territory for .Paak, not every track seems to have got that message. This knock is only for a few tracks and I don’t think it detracts from the album as a whole. It is a great project and I’d still recommend it if you enjoy .Paak’s style of music.  
  • Score: 8.5/10

Replayability

  • The Good: If you’re looking for a short but sweet album that sounds fresh every time through, you’ve got it right here from Anderson .Paak. This album is only 11 songs and it clocks in at 39 minutes. It doesn’t drag in the slightest and that is a huge boost for the replayability.  
  • The Bad: The only bad thing I can say in terms of the album’s replayability is that if you aren’t a fan of Anderson’s style of music, you may get bored after your first few listens. That is understandable but doesn’t detract from the project as a whole.  
  • Score: 8.2/10

Standouts

Final thoughts

After the less-than-stellar album that 2018’s Oxnard was, I’m happy to see Anderson .Paak get back on the right path with his music. I would 100 percent recommend this album for anyone that wants to hear some pure good vibes this spring. This project is perfect for the warm weather we’ve got headed our way and it will for sure stay in constant rotation.  

Man, this project is honestly so great and I can’t get enough of it. I’ve had pretty much the whole album on repeat since it came out. There is enough variety on here to keep me coming back and it doesn’t get stale as fast as other albums. I love the heavy funk influences that Cheeky Andy used simply because they sound so crisp and polished. I’d love to hear more of that from him in the future.

Honestly this project isn’t groundbreaking in too many ways, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t great in its own right. .Paak tried something new on Oxnard and I respect him for that, but I respect him even more for knowing exactly what he’s good at and giving that to us on Ventura. This is one of the best albums of 2019 thus far and will remain that regardless of what other big artists drop for the rest of the year.  

Final Score: 8.4/10    

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Album review: Sincerely, Tokyo by Madeintyo

I first discovered Madeintyo a few years ago. You may be familiar with his track “Uber Everywhere”, which was released in 2016. The track got an official remix with Travis Scott. Even though that is currently his most popular song, Madeintyo brings much more to the table than just his slick-but-lazy sounding flow.

He’s released several projects so far during his short career, including Thank You, Mr. Tokyo and True’s World. These projects show off his tremendous flow, but I’m looking for more than that on this project. Seeing that it’s his debut album and he’s been working on it for more than two years, expectations are understandably high.

Enough talk, it’s time to get into Madeintyo’s debut album Sincerely, Tokyo.

First impressions

During my first couple listens through this project, the songs are all quality. There are 14 tracks, but they don’t drag on as the majority are between 2-3 minutes. The beats are fresh and experimental, which is always a plus.

Something that immediately sticks out about this project is the lack of different flows. This is something I really hoped Tokyo would experiment with on this project. This isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it makes the album a bit repetitive after a few listens.

Lyrics/Flow

Madeintyo is known more for his slick flow than his lyrics. He once again proves that on most of these tracks. He brings dope vibes to each project and all of the songs are ones that would be perfect for party playlists.  

While I’ll admit that his flow is dope on this album, it just gets a bit grating with the amount of times we hear the same thing. Tokyo has so much potential to make different sounding tracks due to the beats that he chooses, but he brings the same flow in most of these songs. That’s a no from me dawg.

  • Score: 6/10

Beats

If there is anything that is a clear-cute standout to me, it’s the beats contained on this album. Each song has a very distinct beat. It keeps the album fresh in that aspect, which I really enjoy for replayability reasons. Some of the producers on this album include Dwn2Earth, Ronny J, K Swisha, Hit-Boy, Wheezy, TM88, and many more. 

The only negative that I can say about this album’s beats is that they are too short on a lot of tracks. For example, the beat on “Moshi Moshi” is absolutely amazing but it only lasts about 1:15. The same problem is present throughout the project. While I respect shorter songs, I wish some of them were a bit longer.

  • Score: 8.3/10

Replayability

Not all albums are easily replayable, but this one definitely is. Sincerely, Tokyo clocks in at only 39 minutes. It is a quick listen that you can knock out and hopefully enjoy. I for one will be listening to this one for quite a while because most of the songs are enjoyable.

Even though the album is short and the beats are outstanding, Tokyo’s flows do get a bit repetitive. Not all of the tracks sound exactly the same, but a lot of the tracks near the beginning of the project sound kind of similar. But don’t let that turn you off the album as a whole, because you can shuffle through it and find something you like instead of listening in order.   

  • Score: 7.5/10

Standouts

Final thoughts

I expected a lot from Madeintyo on Sincerely, Tokyo. The album isn’t perfect, but he mostly met my expectations. Yes, he has proved that he isn’t only the guy who made “Uber Everywhere”, but did he prove anything else on this release?

Let’s be clear, the best things about this album are the beats. They are absolutely amazing and carry the project for me. Tokyo flows over them all so effortlessly, but that’s about it. His lyrical content is nothing to be amazed at.

Honestly, Sincerely, Tokyo is an album to listen to if you enjoy an artist that brings solely vibes to their music. I urge Tokyo to explore new flows and subject matter on his next project, simply because it’ll get people interested again. Madeintyo has released a fine project here, but not one that will go down as a classic by any means. The beats will remain fresh and the vibes dope, but otherwise most hip hop fans won’t remember this project.

Final Score: 7.3/10

Artwork owned by Madeintyo/The Private Club