Jay Rock has been the quietest member of TDE as of late, and we’ve been yet to hear much new material since 2011’s Follow Me Home. With Kendrick and Schoolboy Q’s projects obliterating the charts at number one, and other label mates Ab-Soul and SZA receiving more of an underground, day I say, indie audience, Jay Rock slots somewhere in between. Released last week, the project features an array of TDE label mates including a precious Black Hippy collaboration.
Unfortunately, when I very first listened to 90059, I’d accidentally had it on shuffle. And as they always say, the thing with first impressions is that you only get one. What this meant is that I was blown away by the first half of the album, and then disappointed for the latter. Take the first track I listened to- Fly On The Wall, an expertly crafted minimalist beat brimming with mellow tumbling vocals courtesy of Jay Rock, who coincidently sounds a whole lot like Jay Electronica. I feel this track encapsulates the heights and thematics of 90059, with airy Good Kid, Maad City vibes and production, but often with an added clip clap of Oxymoron.
The trademark Good Kid, Maad City sound is apparent throughout the project no more epitomised by Telegram or The Message, often dipping into elements of trip hop, with Flying Lotus or Thundercat-stemming sounds. However, the quality doesn’t continue quite as consistently. While vocally and lyrically there’s still a lot to report on, ‘This hydrophonic and got you hot with the bottles and bubs // On top of that, this dick and dollars done got you in love’ Rock raps on The Way, however, the production and general song structure is on occasion uninteresting.
90059 is a lot better and reportable than a lot of hip-hop albums recently released. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Dark Sky Paradise, Travis Scott’s Rodeo, Mac Miller’s GO:OD AM, and even Dr Dre’s Compton in some places, all using the same producers and guest artists, refusing to invest further than an 808 tumble and a whooping ad-lib at the end of every line. However, while Jay Rock does often dip into the same dreaded territory, there’s still a lot of impressive material to forgive him for following a trend.
Verdict – WWWV