Sep 30, 2015

Editorial Review: 90059 - @JayRock

First and foremost I must say I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed that Top Dawg didn't release Jay Rock's sophomore album, 90059, much sooner.

I remember when they first announced the tweet above. Unfortunately it never came through as we had to wait til this year to get Kendrick and Rock's projects. Fortunately for the fans, the wait was well worth it. 90059 begins with Necessary. Super west coast sounding introduction to the album that takes the first 40 seconds before Rock commences by the dropping of bars. The project as a whole is basically the story of Rock and where he's from if you didn't get that from the title. I think his story telling abilities is above average and the first track is a great example.

Easy Bake is next up. It leaked in late August. The song has a A side/B side feel. Side A Rock trades bars with Kendrick Lamar on the same verse after they each did one solo. I like how Jay Rock changes his the tone of his voice depending on the mood of the song throughout the album. Part two is interluded with Rock the radio personality as DJ Turn-Up on WTOP Radio. You can tell that was influenced by the WBallz Interlude from the classic Doggystyle by Snoop Dogg (or Lion whatever he calls himself these days). The beat drops and SZA joins the gents caressing the music with her lovely voice. Rock returns to the song with slick wordplay and witty punchlines.

"Show you why they hate more niggas than Uncle Ruckus. Rollin' up that boondock, some call it moon rock..."

Track three is Gumbo and my favorite on the entire album. The production was laid down nicely and Rock is articulate. Gumbo was the second single the released before the album dropped. I especially liked verse two and how he shows us where he's is coming from. It ends on a less serious note where one of the homies was singing the catchy hook in the whip. That leads into a funny conversation about Mrs. Johnson and her gumbo (not sure if that was an innuendo). Wanna Ride features Isaiah Rashad. Isaiah does well singing a catchy hook. It just hurts my soul he didn't bless us with a verse himself. Jay Rock does more than enough to hold the song together perfectly. Rock plays Captain Save-A-Hoe in The Ways. This features Sir, the first of three assists from non-TDE artists (we'll get into that later). He raps about a young woman hanging around her peers who engage in the activities a harlot would (I laughed so hard typing that), and how it's rubbed off on her. Now that's the Art of Peer Pressure huh? No matter, Sir and Rock still gonna have fun when shawty and her friends roll through. Telegram (Going Krazy) follows up. This is probably the most boring track here. Not a skip entirely because the hook sang by Lance Skiiiwalker was catchy. Lance Skiiiwalker in this project serves opposite Jay Rock like an alter ego. The brother is multifaceted and talented. This precedes the self titled 90059. That was the third single released about a month before the album. Lance Skiiiwalker makes another appearance. This time belligerent and drunk. Sound familiar
Painted by John Wallace

Vice City is the Black Hippy posse cut we've been waiting for since pressing play. They focus their verses on their vices as these guys like to talk about. The growing wealth, fame, and women have an effect on how their life is now. Kenny's hook between verses from ScHoolboy Q and Ab-Soul is tough. This is easily another fan favorite and I'm surprised it's not on the radio. Ab-Soul hangs around singing the Intro to the next song, Fly on the Wall. The mood changes again and Jay Rock is joined by Rap Legend Busta Rhymes. If Kendrick is the caterpillar turned butterfly, Jay Rock's analogy is the fly on the wall. I could explain but this is a really introspective song you should hear for yourself. Busta really sheds light on the simile and mentors Rock. Where throughout the album Rock spilled his guts on multiple trials of his life, his mentor provides a different perspective on morality. I was really impressed with the delivery. He even talks about how they met and found a way to make it rhyme. He even adds another jab on the ongoing discussion about rappers writing their own lyrics.

The second to last song is Money Trees Deuce. This was the first single and I was so excited to hear it when it first released as the original was my favorite song on GKMC where Jay Rock stole the show. If I could compare it with the original I'd conclude that like all things the sequel is never as good as the original. Let me explain. As far as content and verses from Rock, this one far surpassed the first. The hook sang by Anna Wise and Kendrick on the original was catchier and the beat by DJ Dahi was waaaay better than the sequel. That's not to take away from Flippa and JProof's production, because this wasn't supposed to be super produced where you'd lose focus of the lyrics unless you were really paying attention. The song fades out with Rock giving words of encouragement we all could use. The flow and story are very similar and Money Trees Deuce still impressed and retains that ever important replay value. Winding down, the album ends with The Message. This definitely wasn't Grandmaster Flash or Melly Mel. He could have ended the album with Money Trees Deuce and the way it faded out would have been perfect. The Message isn't horrible but wouldn't be missed if left off. It raps up everything he said in the last ten tracks like the conclusion of a fourth grader's public speaking assignment. Vic Smitty sings the hook where I'm also unimpressed. It sounds more harsh than it is; however it's still not good or bad, just wouldn't be otherwise missed.

Although a bit annoying as a fan the promotion was great for the TDE vet. For the most part I think he's the most slept on act out of their stable. The pre-order and release of his album was the most interesting I've ever seen. There literally wasn't a projected date. Just after a certain number of fans ordered, they'd release it in it's entirety. He didn't have too many singles out which is important when you are trying to bless the public with new material. The album was 11 tracks. Fairly short in time but he doesn't waste it. Aside from the outro everything he said  needed to be heard. I was duly surprised to see Parental Advisory and Pay For It featuring K. Dot and Chantal didn't make the final cut. Who knows, maybe that will be on a deluxe version. All in all 90059 is the zip. It's the story of where he's from. I'd to call it the middle ground of Kendrick's Good Kid Maad City and YG's My Krazy Life. I guess that's what it is to be Jay Rock, the blood from Watts, Los Angeles. The question used to be where is Jay Rock? Now it's where's he going? 90059 gets 4.4 of 5 stars on the Ramsey Rating Scale. You can listen to 90059 in it's entirety below after the break.

Jonathan C. Ramsey
Jonathan C. Ramsey

Multimedia Journalist, Founder and Chief Editor of WTM Host of A-Side B-Side Podcast and more. I like to talk about stuff and write it down. Sometimes to a microphone. Either way, I need you to feel this.

No comments: