Top Dawg Entertainment has some true veterans signed to their label with Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q. Jay Rock is among those names as one of the TDE icons, and with his third studio album Redemption, he is here to prove that once again. With features from label members and others, Jay Rock creates this story of come up through his neighborhood of Watts, Los Angeles.
Jay Rock has a history of being able to spit quick, fluid verses. However, for much of this album, he spends much of it rapping these very introspective lyrics over a very chill vibe. It doesn’t sound as much like the Jay Rock we are used to. At times he nearly feels like he is trying to go more commercial while staying with his past style and the two don’t mix. His features of Jeremih on “Tap Out” and J. Cole on “OSOM” balance his deeper voice very well. Both tracks are strong and he utilizes the features well to create a nice contrast. Possibly one of the better songs of the project, “Redemption”, includes Kendrick Lamar and SZA. All three belong to TDE and the trio sound very good together. Hopefully, we might see more of this in the future.
There wasn’t too much wrong with the beats. I just felt that there was nothing special about them. Each felt very similar and none stood out too heavily. The piano track on “Broke +-” plays really well with Jay Rock’s voice. The two pair perfectly with each other and you get an almost haunting vibe out of the song. On “Wow Freestyle” with Kendrick, the use of the flute almost sounds similar to “Mask Off” from Future.
For me, this was the worst part of the album. The transitions weren’t very clean and felt choppy. Also, taking Jay Rock and Future’s verses off “King’s Dead” is not very creative at all. Plus, the song just felt off where it was on the album. The placement just didn’t make sense for much of the project as many tracks didn’t flow well next to each other. I felt that the way the songs were ordered, you noticed the songs that weren’t as strong more than you would if they were placed better.
“The Bloodiest” and “OSOM” are solid tracks. “Broke +-” has such a great piano loop that it is hard to ignore.
This album just didn’t feel special to me. Nothing blew me away or made me say wow. To be honest, there were a lot of songs off the project that I probably will never return to for this exact reason. Don’t get me wrong, it has some good tracks but the amount of “skips” outweigh them. With that being said, Redemption gets a:
It’s middle of the road. A five is not a bad score so if you are a huge Jay Rock fan, don’t hate. Just my opinion.