In an interview on “Rosenberg Real Late” in the lead-up to the release of his highly-anticipated project, “90059”, Jay Rock says that he is the “big brother” of TDE. Top Dog Entertainment has become a staple of the rap game and being the elder statesman of such a prolific group is no small title. On his most recent release, Jay Rock pulls through and makes a project that is simultaneously true to his Watts roots and consumable by the masses of America.
This is the recipe of a major hit in the landscape of American hip-hop. People that live far from America’s most dangerous neighborhoods want to hear, now more than ever, the sounds of the projects. Jay Rock is unique from his TDE brethren, but also falls beautifully in line with the sound each artist has cultivated. Nowhere is this synergy more evident than one of the highlights of the album, Vice City. Over an exquisitely produced beat Kendrick, Ab-Soul, and Schoolboy Q, and Jay Rock cement TDE’s place at the forefront of rap. Each maintains their identity while attacking the beat in a similar cadence.
The content of the album is what you would expect from an album titled after the zip code of Jay Rock’s old stomping grounds. The Watts native sticks largely to the subjects of “big-booty bitches” and flipping dope in the hood. The draw for the album is that Jay Rock’s reality, his old circumstances, creates such compelling music.
The standout track on the album has got to be Fly on the Wall. Busta Rhymes accompanies Jay Rock on the track, but Jay Rock does not pale in comparison to the rap legend. Jay Rock shows impressive maturity and range on the track, choosing to weave a rich narrative for the listener. There is no doubt that Jay Rock can rap and he does what we expect of him very well. However, on this track we see a new side of Jay Rock, a more Kendrick-esque ability to create deeper meaning through lyricism and raw talent.
Gumbo, Fly on the Wall feat. Busta Rhymes, Vice City, Wanna Ride