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ALLBLACK - TY4FWM Music Album Reviews

ALLBLACK - TY4FWM Music Album Reviews
On his feature-heavy new album, the Oakland rapper takes stock of his achievements so far while looking toward a new stratum of success with clear-eyed gratitude.

Seeing your name in lights is an emotional experience for any artist, equal parts ego-inflating and awe-inspiring. The cover of ALLBLACK’s 2020 album No Shame 3 featured his rap moniker in big, bold letters on the marquee of Oakland’s historic Fox Theater. But despite the confidence boost that comes with recognition, the self-proclaimed “Hardest out the O since Keak da Sneak” has made humility a defining feature of his work, often thanking the producers who supplied his beats on the record and crafting a trademark ad-lib out of his gratitude toward listeners and collaborators: “Thank you for fucking with me,” which supplies the fitting title for his new album TY4FWM.

Featuring production from the likes of DJ Fresh—the Bay Area legend behind The Tonite Show mixtape series—No Shame 3 synthesized three decades of Bay Area rap history and saw new-generation acts like DaBoii and Guapdad 4000 mingling with legends like Too $hort. TY4FWM builds similar connections with headliners and takes stock of ALLBLACK’s achievements so far, but it also plots future plays and looks toward a different stratum of success. Though he released the album through his independent label Play Runners Association, he’s clearly eyeing a path beyond regional stardom.

TY4FWM is feature-heavy, but as the gracious title implies, it seems like everyone genuinely fucks with ALLBLACK. There’s a hang-out vibe, a feeling of mutual respect and camaraderie amongst an All-Star roster of current West Coast rap, from mainstream artists like G-Eazy and Vince Staples to acclaimed cult favorites like Drakeo the Ruler and ShooterGang Kony. It’s easy to see why ALLBLACK has made connections with rappers from the Golden State: he’s hard-working and humble, serious when he needs to be, and casually funny when the time is right. On “10 Toes,” he comes off as more of a straight man alongside clown prince E-40—G-Eazy is void of charisma when put up against the other two and one of the album’s few moments of dead air. “War Stories” recruits Sacramento’s Mozzy and Peezy for a shit-talking session among street veterans, swapping tales of danger and paranoia from the frontlines like Robert Shaw showing off his sailor tats and shark bites in Jaws. The three rappers reflect as much as they flex.

There’s a constant interplay between the fast and furious rap flows popular right now in Michigan and California, so Sada Baby is a natural addition on “Do or Die,” driven by a sultry pop vocal from singer Carrie. The omnipresent Kenny Beats rears his head on the Drakeo-featuring “Ego,” which feels like the cut most likely to blast from car speakers—Drakeo and ALLBLACK are similarly dry in their blink-and-you’ll-miss-it wit, though ALLBLACK lacks Drakeo’s distinct weirdness.

ALLBLACK might thrive as a tag team partner, but he’s equally adept as a solo performer, and he does some of his most impressive rapping on feature-less tracks like “Cobra Kai'” and “Anejo.” His flow is straightforward and focused, with precision and just a little grit in his throat, and the lyrics are relatively reserved in their pop culture references. When he does name-drop a movie or athlete, it packs a more brutal punch, comically and emotionally: “When I mob, I really mob, it look like City of God.”

With production handled mainly by DTB, these are the kinds of beats that will be familiar to listeners of recent Cali and Detroit rap, heavy on wet and bouncy synth lines that feel as much like acid house as G-funk. It’s hardly hip-house, but many of ALLBLACK’s tracks are at a higher, almost danceable BPM, and album opener “Life of a P” builds from the same Mr. Fingers rhythm Kanye West pilfered for “Fade,” with goth-funk crooner Kossisko on hook duty. TY4FWM occasionally features soulful vocal samples, stripped down and buried under layers of watery filters, most noticeably the oft-flipped “Saturday Love” on “Anejo.” Just when you feel like you’ve settled into a groove, ALLBLACK flips the script. On “Cobra Kai,” the drums and beat disappear halfway through the song, replaced by a frantic series of piano lines that are eventually joined by thumping percussion.

ALLBLACK might have reached a level where his name can stand alone on a marquee, but he doesn’t seem comfortable in the solitary spotlight; the cover for TY4FWM shows him surrounded by his association of play runners. Many artists might sever connections or leave loved ones behind to get ahead. ALLBLACK makes it clear he’s not going anywhere unless he can bring his family, his team, and his hometown with him.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
ALLBLACK - TY4FWM Music Album Reviews ALLBLACK - TY4FWM Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, May 20, 2021 Rating: 5

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