Album Reviews – 2018 (May-June)

May 2018

Royce Da 5’9 Drops “Book Of Ryan” LP

Royce Da 5'9 Drops "Book Of Ryan" LP

Royce Da 5’9 is keeping fans supplied with plenty of music in 2018. Just a few months after dropping PRhyme 2 with DJ Premier, Nickel Nine has returned with his new solo album, Book Of Ryan.

The venerable MC’s latest work includes 21 tracks with production by S1, DJ Khalil, Boi-1da, Illmind, Frank Dukes and Mr. Porter, among others. Guest appearances are made by Eminem, J. Cole, Logic, Pusha T, Boogie, Jadakiss, Fabolous, T-Pain, Marsha Ambrosius and more.

View Royce’s Book Of Ryan stream, cover art and tracklist below.

(The previous version of this article was published on April 26, 2018 and can be found below.)

Royce Da 5’9 already revealed the tracklist for his upcoming album Book of Ryan, but the veteran MC has made the picture a little clearer by announcing the guests appearing on it. The 21-song LP boasts a stacked lineup of contributors, including Royce’s Bad Meets Evil cohort Eminem.

J. Cole, Logic, Pusha T, Boogie, Jadakiss, Fabolous, T-Pain and Chavis Chandler round out the Hip Hop guests on Nickel Nine’s seventh solo album. Other artists slated to appear are Marsha Ambrosius, Melanie Rutherford and Ashley Sorrell.

The Book of Ryan drops on May 4. Check out the tracklist below. original version of this article was published on March 22, 2018 and can be found below.)

After allowing fans a few days to marinate on his newly released PRhyme 2 album with DJ Premier, Royce da 5’9 is already prepping the release of his next solo body of work.

This week, Royce offered up some intel on his next studio album, titled Book of Ryan. The Detroit lyricist shared both the cover art and tracklist to the project.

The album features 20 tracks and (so far) lists only a lone guest appearance from North Carolina rhymer J. Cole.

Royce also made a bold proclamation about Book of Ryan while speaking with Complex.

Book of Ryan is my greatest piece of work,” he said. “I put everything I had into this album (spiritually, mentally, physically, and financially) and am excited to finally share it with the world. I hope you enjoy.”

Book of Ryan will be available for pre-order beginning March 23 and drops on May 4. The cover art and tracklist for the album are below.

Book of Ryan

1. Intro
2. Woke
3. My Parallel (Skit)
4. Caterpillar
5. God Speed
6. Dumb
7. Who Are You (Skit)
8. Cocaine
9. Life Is Fair
10. Boblo Boat f. J. Cole
11. Legendary
12. Summer on Lock
13. Amazing
14. Outside
15. Power
16. Protecting Ryan (Skit)
17. Strong Friend
18. Anything/Everything
19. Stay Woke
20. First of the Month
21. Caterpillar Remix

King Combs Packs Plenty Of OG Bad Boy Flavor On Debut Mixtape, “90’s Baby”

Review: King Combs Packs Plenty Of OG Bad Boy Flavor On Debut Mixtape, “90’s Baby”

A feeling of hesitance best describes the emotions associated with a rapper possessing immediate ties to Hip Hop legends and resources. Yet, after teasing fans with several flashy music videos over the past year, young Christian “King” Combs makes it clear to critics that he is a very capable MC through his debut mixtape, 90’s Baby.

Diddy’s son drops off a 12-track offering that consists of a vintage blend of Bad Boy-era Hip Hop with West Coast influenced vibes.

From the tape’s start, it is evident that Combs has done his due diligence as a student of the game as his cadences and rap delivery are directly influenced by past greats, mostly reminiscent of M-A-dollar-sign-E in the late 90s. A nostalgic sound is the driving force of the project and for the most part he does a great job at it, best exemplified on the 20-year-old’s rendition of Tupac’s classic “All Eyez on Me” titled “All Eyez On C” which also samples Nas’ “Street Dreams” from ’96.

90’s Baby’s subject matter is dominated by braggadocious rhymes like on “Smoove Shit” and relationship tracks like “Bad Girl,” shortchanging the surprises from song to song. But the production is dynamic and compliments Combs’ self-assured delivery. The confidence in his style elevates these records and helps them to be more than just homage to the sound that his father perfected. He’s striving to make a name for himself and is not hesitant in making that clear. “Bad Boy Back,” which features a well-implemented “Fu-Gee-La” sample, is one of the tape’s strongest offerings and showcases the Bad Boy empire will be left in capable hands. On the hook, the young MC proclaims, “Everybody ask where Bad Boy at, King Combs bringing Bad Boy back/ And if you wanna know where Bad Boy at/King Combs bringing Bad Boy Back.”

The heir apparent is at his most compelling on a record like “No Way Out,” where he virtually dons a shiny suit in the booth. A complete track consisting of fly talk, and lavish lifestyle raps where the imagery is evocative. He raps “Trips to Jamaica, Vegas fly back/If you like that floor seats watchin’ Melo/skate out to the main house no rental/Helicopter pads just to land on the yacht/Money-Power-Respect I put that on the LOX.”

As King Combs continues to develop his own style, it would be nice to hear him get more introspective about his life and who he is as a person. While there is no question he can rap and the lifestyle he details in his lyrics would only be disputed by a hater, the value of an artist is always judged by their depth – a key element lacking from this project.

Nonetheless, 90’s Baby is a good career starter for King Combs and also wins points for keeping the features in-house with his CYN collective. The nostalgic sound combined with the youthful energy he brings makes for a dope listen.

And yes, he’s already a better MC than his pops.


Styles P’s “G-Host” Sounds Exactly Like A Styles P Album Should

Review: Styles P's "G-Host" Sounds Exactly Like A Styles P Album Should

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