He’s not just Top Dawg’s most underrated rapper, but he’s one of the most overlooked rappers in the mainstream game. Redemption is a story of Jay Rock’s struggles in life and in rap as he aims to get to the top. Is Redemption the album that’s going to push Jay Rock to the next level which I feel he belongs?
It’s very much worth mentioning early doors that this record includes the single Kings Dead, a track Jay Rock did in collaboration with Kendrick Lamar and Future for the Black Panther Album. Promotion of that track and it’s streams alone has made this Rock’s most publicly known album. Proof of this can be seen in the charts as it’s Jay Rock’s highest charting album yet, but does it deserve the clout it’s gotten?
At 44 minutes the album doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and makes for an easy listen, something many rappers have failed to hit the mark with this year. Jay Rock shows off his technical ability throughout the first five tracks with cold blooded flow and tons of energy to match the quality production we’ve come to expect from TDE.
There’s a dip at track six on Tap Out featuring Jeremih. While Jeremih comes with what everyone knows he’s capable of, I just don’t feel that style suits Rock’s heavy vocals, the more mellow production does no favours for Rock either.
The album then hit’s one of it’s highest of highs. Track seven OSOM featuring J Cole is everything that track six wasn’t. Cole brings a massive spark of interest and delivered well, but it’s really the brilliance of Jay Rock that makes that track go as hard as it does.
The album takes another high with the previously mentioned Kings Dead. It’s clipped down slightly coming in at just under three minutes with no signs of James Blake. I think it’s a smart move to not over saturate the track and not make the album all about this fun track as it doesn’t fit the theme of the album all that well.
TDE friends Kendrick Lamar and SZA feature late on the album on tracks Wow Freestyle and Redemption, respectively. Both of these tracks bring their own unique stamp to the album. Kendrick and Jay go back and forth with each other like the old days bringing a killer flow and funky vocals for easily one of the funnest moments of the album. It really is rap in it’s purest form. From the fun moments to a more melodic and thoughtful track Redemption with SZA and Kendrick. Jay Rock talks of his motorcycle accident that left him fighting for his life. Jay Rock has spoken of the song saying it’s one of his favourites from the record, and any SZA feature makes it one of my favourites too.
At the start of this review I questioned whether this would be the album to put Jay Rock and top, and to put it simply the answer is yes. It’s an incredible triumph from a man who has went from fighting to his life to making a pure rap album that’s full of inspiration and full of insane bops. While the second half might be better than the first, it’s still a massive success and easily Jay Rock’s best work yet.