This album came out a few weeks ago, but I didn’t have the chance to sit down and listen to it top to bottom until this past weekend. I’d listened to a few tracks during Essence Fest weekend and while on my cruise, but this past Sunday I made time to sit down and listen to it beginning to the end. It didn’t take long since it’s only 10 tracks long. That’s actually been a trend amongst rap albums recently, but that’s another post for another day.
I was interested in seeing what all he would have on this album, especially after how explosive Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ was, and I was kind of disappointed in him. Musically I loved it. I know he and Kanye aren’t as close as they once were, but there was definitely some Yeezy inspiration when it came to the samples. Classic tracks by Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, the Fugees, Kool & the Gang and even the Clark Sisters play chopped in the back behind his rhymes and that made my inner band nerd smile. I loved the fresh take on some of those old songs and it worked. They all worked.
What disappointed me were some of the tracks, more specifically how honest he was in them. Now don’t get me wrong, I prefer the honesty. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why he’s one of my favorite rappers because he raps about what he knows. He grew up in the streets and didn’t shy away from that in his older tracks, but we can see the growth of him as a man and as a business man in his more recent albums. What made me mad was that he not only treated his wife like crap, but that he put it on a track. Beyonce mentioned infidelity all throughout her album so we knew it was coming, but we didn’t know it would come like this. He not only confirmed that what she said was true, even mentioning Becky with the good hair, but he did it in true f***boy fashion. His relationship and marriage to his wife wasn’t enough for him to be faithful, it took him having a child to realize that he should be a shitty human being.
*insert eyeroll here*
I’m so sick of the “all men cheat” narrative and how normalized it’s become, especially in the entertainment industry. While I commend him for righting his wrongs and coming clean about it, it should’ve never happened in the first place. This is the same man who has been saying for years that he has the hottest chick in the game wearing his chain. Literally been saying that for over a decade and it wasn’t enough? But he’s not the only artist or person saying and doing this and that’s what sucks the most. It’s a pain that I feel for not only Bey for any woman who’s had to go through that.
Now once I was able to move past those tracks I was able to appreciate the album. With stand out tracks like “The Story of O.J.” that reiterates the message that there’s no glory to be gotten by making it and staying in the hood. Lines like “Please don’t die over the neighborhood that ya mama renting” and “You wanna know what’s more important than throwing away money in a strip club? Credit” are so poignant and need to be repeated over and over and over. A few other favorites from the record are “Moonlight”, “Smile” and “Legacy”. Overall it’s a good project, and I appreciate his honesty even though I’m not a fan of all of his truths.
Now I need to make time to watch the mini movie that goes along with it. I’ve heard really good things about that, that it features a bunch of rappers and actors revealing their vulnerabilities in relationships and in their past.
Have y’all listened to the record? What did you think? Comment below or tweet me and let me know.