Let me start this off by saying, I am a fan of Zay. Such a fan that I was very excited for this album. Zay made us wait five whole years for a new album. The Sun’s Tirade was such a good album and it sounded like a launching point, Zay came out strong like this on his first album so his next release in 2-3 years should be fire right? So we waited and waited then we waited some more. Photos in studios, teasers from higher ups at TDE, but year after year there was still nothing. Then, finally we got “Lay Wit Ya.” The world rejoiced! Finally! New Zaywop! The song was good too! A great beat that captures your attention with that menacing 808 and the hi-hat leading the way. Zay sounds like he’s having fun, rapping about how he’s not here to play games, he’s here to fuck. Duke Deuce is here too, and his presence adds to the song instead of taking away the shine from Zay. It worked, but it was nothing to write home about. Now, this is where you start to sweat. It had been five, cinco, cinq years since Zay dropped an album. If you take a 5 year break, you need to drop something that feels different. Not a continuation of a sound that’s been overly-saturated to death. I talk about this all the time, but Zay, Smino, J.I.D, Buddy, Mick Jenkins, etc. have created a terribly easy sound to rip-off and all of their children drop at a more consistent basis. So it makes me think, “Well, I can get this from yadda-yadda and so-and-so, so why would I wait five years for something you did already?” Which sucks when you’re a fan of that artist.
With all that being said there are songs that I enjoy on this album. The first two tracks are skippable, but “RIP Young” is the song that actually started the album for me. The bassline makes it impossible to not bob your head. Zay’s flow meshes with the groove so well that he could really be saying anything and it would work. He lowkey does this too, because he’s saying a whole lot of nothing on this track. It works, though. The beat on “All Herb” is great, too. The drums take the reign on this one with the bass right behind it. That is, until that synth pad comes in and hypnotizes you and commands the baton. Zay’s flow on “Don’t Shoot” is insane. How he interpolates the title chant into his verses, how he switches flows at a moments notice, just everything about it is great. The truest bright spot on this album is the last track, “HB2U.” That is a wild thing to say, but dude, it sounds new. It sounds like growth and a new direction. Those horns sound like the sunrise, a new day. Why couldn’t every song give me this feeling? Why doesn’t this happen until the last song? So many unanswered questions. Then, we get to the outro and it’s you’re immediately hit again. Zay raps about how the drugs don’t help him relax from the struggles of life anymore. He’s hit the bottom and now he’s using drugs as a means of coping rather than recreation. A somber way to finish the album, but it did a great job of showing you where he was at in life when he recorded it. Growth.
Still though, five whole years. Was it worth it? Nope, not even a little bit. Hopefully, and I really mean, hopefully whatever he drops after this will sound different. Don’t get mad at me for this.
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