That New Jay Rock Though

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Album cover

Album cover

Album cover

Alviana Johnson, Music Reviewer

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WARNING: This album is very explicit. It contains violence and sexual lyrics.

If you haven’t heard 90059 by Top Dawg Entertainment’s next wave, Jay Rock, then you are missing out! This album has been a long time coming. The vibes on the album are fresh out the oven. Rock delivers truculent verses on heavy bass and groovy beats. 90059 has struggle and power.

Jay Rock was born and raised in Watts, Los Angeles, ZIP code 90059, which is the title of the album. Watts is known to be a poverty-stricken, drug-infested neighborhood. Rock tells stories of street life that surrounds him.

“When you live in America either kill or be killed” : a verse from the first track ‘Necessary’ informs the audience of the hardcore lifestyle Jay Rock comes from.

In the opening of the song, “90059 be the ZIP” repeats introducing the listener to Jay Rock’s hometown. 40 seconds into the track Rock hits you with hard lyrics demanding respect for his presence.

In order to feed his family, Rock had to choose either selling drugs or rapping. Throughout the album, he tells of the struggles he encountered while choosing to sell drugs to make a living. Now he raps about it encouraging the listener to grow as he has.

Black Hippy, a group of Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, and Rock feature in the album on track ‘Vice City.’ If you haven’t heard music by any of these artists – just know Tupac Shakur heavily influences them. The vices of these young men come to light in this catchy track where Lamar says, “Big money big booty b—— man that s— gone be the death of me.” It’s no secret that once most rappers reach fame and have success they are immediately attracted to the commercial lifestyle of rap.

On the song “Gumbo” Jay Rock puts the soulful flavor back into rap music. It’s easy to kick back to this song with its inspirational vibes. “Yeah, and I can show you what it feels like the moment they want you defeated but yet you still fight.” Thought provoking lyrics that are both inspirational and reflective. Rock also includes a skit at the end of the track reminding the audience to actually listen to what he’s saying.

Busta Rhymes makes the best comeback of the year when he features in “Fly On The Wall”. Both Rock and Busta deliver hard punches of reality with lyrics like “When you stand still you could witness it all. Picture the vision from the fly on the wall.” Macy Gray also features on the song perfecting the chorus with her soulful sound.

Overall on the album Jay Rock promotes growth. “Wondering if change gone come, well we gone see though.” Most people either want peace, acceptance, or more of a community vibe. How will we attain growth from change when we continue to practice insanity?

If you’ve never listened to Jay Rock; be open minded to his music, it comes from his soul. He opens up in his music about his life, what he overcame and the vices he currently battles. Though you may not agree with his choices, accept him for who he is.

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