Jan 23, 2018

Review: Reason - @NylesXNature (words by @RamseySaidWHAT)

Reason is probably the best project I missed out on last year. I said what I said. This is one of the best told stories I've heard in a long time. Not all albums are stories but collections of songs but for Hardaway, this is a coming of age tale. I don't want to waste much time so, let's get to it.

Right Place serves as the intro. It doesn't have lyrics as Hardaway doesn't appear to the next track. That's a recurring theme throughout Reason. I'll explain why later. Baby Boy takes us on the trip any parent must got through in the nine months until their first child is born. For those like me that don't have kids, really think about it. Imagine the maturation you have to make in less than a year as your life changes forever.. This song takes us on that journey. It doesn't really have a hook but I think his cadence is dope. In each line he shares a thought as it's followed up with the title of the track.

"This sh*t is crazy I'm finna have a BABY! Sh*t been changin' lately she boutta have my BABY!"

The song fades out to Hardaway singing a lullaby to his first born and a classic Lawrence Fishbourne scene in Boyz In The Hood. Searching for the Reason begins. Pay attention here. This one is a roller coaster of emotions about the world around him. The beat even changes to that classic Daylight sample by Ramp.  You might know the sample better from Bonita Applebum by A Tribe called Quest. The beat fades out and he vents on the rest of the track. The Price of Life follows up. They looped the Bow Wow hook from Hood Star with Omarion. The beat slows takes  us on a low fi mood. This is music to ride up and down route one on a summer day. To be honest aside from the storyline this is how I feel about his entire project. It's the second verse on this song you really need to pay attention to. His voice serves as a DJ scratch and the instrumentals combined equals beautiful music. No really, his voice and tonality is magic throughout this entire joint. Watching God and Ghetto Messiah are a package deal. I think this is kind of the climactic point in the album.

D.R.E.A.M. is what it looks like. Punchlines on punchlines lace this track until the hook comes. Death rules everything around me. This tale isn't for the faint of heart. Let's be frank the whole project isn't. He explains it himself in the description: An album about change & purpose. A drug dealer coming to terms with the speed of life and the understanding of being alive. As the project closes out Purest Feeling and Rahway (Just Like You) take things to a retrospective point of view. After all that's happened in his life the things that are important and really matters now hold more meaning, for instance his son.

I like to think I have an eclectic ear. Reason is one of the most pure hip hop albums I've listened to in a long time. This was a super super easy listen for the purist and trap listener alike. The skits and movie monologues were a nice touch in addition to the interludes. I said earlier some of the tracks didn't have any lyrics. Sometimes there aren't words for what you're feeling so the music spoke loud enough. Macc McCray strikes again. This was mixed and mastered super well. McCray and Hardaway really did their thing. The samples and beat selection blended well as did the sequence and order of songs. This project is industry ready and takes us on a helluva ride. You ever hear Ab-Soul's outro? Kendrick said something in there that reminds me of this project. "You wonder how I could talk about money, hoes, clothes God and history all in the same sentence?" He hits a lot of themes and I hate comparisons but if you like music like section .80 you'll love Hardaway. I even played this one for my pops and it got the Mr. Ramsey cosign. If this project came out in 1996 I don't think anyone would have noticed. Also no features. I don't want to be like every J. Cole stan out there but I'll say this. Entertaining someone for 45 minutes plus is a feat. Think about a stand up comedian. We just give them a microphone a chair and some water and say entertain us. I'm that impressed when a musician does it too. Reason is a must listen and the East Orange Native floated on this. I feel like I just watched a full length film. I'd love to see visuals for this. In fact just listen for yourself below. Well done.

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.

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