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Album Review: Jay Rock, 90059

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Most people reading this review have never been in a trap house. They have never sold drugs or run for the police, and unless skeet shooting at their uncle’s ranch counts, few have held guns. But Jay Rock will be damned if you don’t leave his album feeling like a trap lord. The 11-song-long cut – technically Jay Rock’s sophomore studio album following the 2011’s Follow Me Home 90059 is gritty and dark, like a grown man’s I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: for example, on the first track, Jay Rock raps, “I stay at your head, or be at your throat/Better ask your folks I'm not the dog to provoke.” This dangerous energy runs throughout much of the album, save for certain tracks like “Vice City” and “Fly on the Wall.” It is important to note that both of these aforementioned tracks are not only different in tonality but also laden with features. (Maybe Jay Rock’s mood is lightened in the presence of friends?) Some of the strongest bars come, as one might expect, on songs featuring Kendrick Lamar. Even on a friend’s album, Kendrick cannot help but outshine everyone in his presence. Jay Rock does his best to hold his own, particularly on “Easy Bake” – another standout track with a beat switch halfway through going from dark, aggressive rhymes with Kendrick to funkier cruising music with SZA on the hook – where he trades friendly rhymes back and forth with Lamar in an almost dialogue. 90059 is not without flaws, however. The album is surprisingly short, with only 11 tracks and a runtime of roughly 45 minutes. The track order is also questionable, especially near the end. Listening to “Fly on the Wall,” one expects the album to end only to find two additional songs tacked on afterwards; “Money Trees Deuce” feels particularly like a bonus track. Overall, even with these shortcomings, this album is definitely worth a listen. You probably won’t be hearing any songs from this release on the row… unless everyone suddenly starts acting hard and bumping “Gumbo” out the window. 4/5. Key Tracks: “Vice City” (8) & “Easy Bake” (2) EBONKA

EBONKA AGBOJE, INTERN