It’s taken Jay Rock three albums to actualise his breakthrough. His recent full-length release, “Redemption”, takes a completely different direction from his earlier studio albums, which include 2011’s “Follow Me Home” and 2015’s “90059”. While 2015 was perhaps the biggest year in hip hop history, Jay Rock’s effort only managed to impact the moment with a few standout tunes.
His rise to recognition has not been easy. He was the first artiste to be signed to Top Dawg Entertainment, but his fellow Black Hippy mates, Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q joined the label after earning top spots and nominations on notable platforms. Together with the supergroup’s fourth member, Ab-Soul, Black Hippy has always stood out, releasing incredibly composed tracks. Individually, the four rappers’ careers have taken completely different paths, with Kendrick outshining the entire rap fraternity, and Jay Rock holding on, simply waiting for his turn. “Redemption” is a deep dive into his own reality. Jay Rock simply takes us through his journey, struggles and triumphant maturation. It’s a 13-track album that kicks off with ‘The Bloodiest’, which is an attempt to detail Jay’s rise from the deadly streets to being a successful rapper. “For What It’s Worth” questions the importance of life. We get a vivid description of how it is to grow up in the projects of Eastside Los Angeles on ‘ES Tales’.
Jeremih and J Cole offer their brilliance on the essential tracks “Tap Out” and “OSOM” (Outta Sight, Outta Mind) respectively. The album’s lead single “King’s Dead”, featuring Future, was originally heard on “Black Panther: The Album”. However, this version lacks James Blakes’s interlude and Kendrick Lamar’s closing verse.
SZA’s mighty vocals are not left out, with her contribution heavily felt on the album’s title track “Redemption.” The track reflects on Jay Rock’s near-fatal motorcycle crash in 2016. Kendrick Lamar’s role in the last three tracks of the album is quite noticeable. Whether he is offering soulful backing on ‘Redemption’ and the closing track ‘WIN’ or dropping bars on “Wow Freestyle”, he continues to impact and bless his fans with his brilliance.
“Redemption” places Jay Rock among the top. He manages to accomplish a lot, including one of the best hip hop albums of 2018. Well, it’s TDE.
Star Rating: 4.5/5