“Issa Album” sounds too familiar. It’s disappointing to listen to a record that can’t separate itself from the herds of new rappers. Then again, who knows. The volume of trap artists could potentially be important in helping rap evolve its sound.
Perhaps it would be too harsh to say that this album is a waste of time, but I cannot say that it was time well spent in good faith. “Issa Album” is something of a Future knock off. To be just another mumble rapper riding off Future’s coattail’s is inconsequential, but to borrow his signature auto-tune effect and to hold some of the same producers in common (Metro Boomin) makes this album a Future clone. Based off his own heated reaction to other rappers using stage names like his own, one would think 21 Savage has a commitment to originality, unfortunately he seems to be a relentless hypocrite.
This album lacks any truly interesting qualities. Neither the lyrics nor the production are anything to fuss about. Sure, there are several cool beats, such as “7 Minute Freestyle”, but they lack dynamics. In other words, you won’t find any slick beat changes like the ones Kendrick Lamar often pulls off. The lyrics scarcely leave the subjects of wealth, fame, cars, and trapping. They’re boring. When 21 Savage does switch things up just a bit on tracks like “Face Time” and “Special”, he goes uncharacteristically soft and talks about feelings and girl problems the way a bad Drake song might. In fact, his vocal style intentionally emulates that of Drake on those two tracks. Not for a single moment does this feel like an intelligent album, and this is largely the fault of the ceaseless hype track. The “skrrt”’s and the “21 21 21 21”’s get annoying very quickly, although I’m hesitant to say that they take away from the album. Without the excessive hype, 21’s rapping would be as awkward as a sit-com without a laugh track.
A track by track analysis of this album would not be useful to anyone. “Issa Album” is too consistent all the way through for such, and that trait is certainly a liability given its length. Had 21 Savage kept it a track or two shorter it would have felt less of a chore to listen through. The time could have been cut down by trimming the repetitive hooks in songs like “Bank Account” and limiting Metro’s unnecessary watermarks. Frankly, there are too many skilled hip-hop artists to listen to unexceptional stuff like this.
Album Review by Zach Norton, July 2017
Last week saw an extreme lack of content, and as a result, the week of 10/23-10/29 was the first week without a “The Thursday Ten” post since the segment was first announced. However, we are back this week with the latest “The Thursday Ten”. For those of you who read the last installment to the segment, you will remember that the ratings for the 10 records mentioned all received scores within the range of 7/10-9/10. Even though these ratings are a representation of my honest opinion of the albums, I understand that the ratings from the previous post might seem inflated, and that an average reader might think that almost every album receives around an 8/10. In order to disprove this assumption, I decided to rate some albums that were released this year that I was not very fond of, in order to show a more broad spectrum of where certain records may fall on the rating system for “The Thursday Ten”. The rules for giving these ratings have not changed and each album mentioned can be listened to on any major streaming service, and I highly encourage you to give them a listen! Also, the previous “The Thursday Ten” is posted below and of course, if you disagree with any rating or want to submit a record to be rated, let us know in the comments or shot us an email! Here is this week’s “The Thursday Ten”:
- Periphery – Periphery III: Select Difficulty: 8/10
- D.R.A.M. – Big Baby D.R.A.M.: 5/10
- The Word Alive – Dark Matter: 5/10
- Chelsea Grin – Self Inflicted: 5/10
- River Oaks – River Oaks – EP: 6/10
- Desiigner – New English: 7/10
- I Prevail – Lifelines: 7/10
- AlunaGeorge – I Remember: 4/10
- Jimmy Eat World – Integrity Blues: 6/10
- Drake (singles) – Fake Love: 6/10 – Sneakin’ (feat. 21 Savage): 7/10
The previous “The Thursday Ten”:
Late last week, one of my favorite rap artists of all time, A$AP Ferg, released a remix to his track “New Level”, which was originally off his sophomore release, “Always Strive and Prosper”. The original version of “New Level” featured rap artist Future, and soon after its release, it became one of the most successful and highly praised songs off the project. Now, 10 months after the single was first released, the remix to this fan favorite is available on all prominent music streaming services and features verses from A$AP Rocky and Lil Uzi Vert, along with another verse from Future himself.
Personally I like this remix even better than the original version. Not to say that the album version of “New Level” is bad, but the added verses from A$AP Rocky and Lil Uzi Vert, along with the new, rewritten verses from both A$AP Ferg and Future collectively make this the greater of the two tracks. Honestly, I would be glad to see yet another remix to this track, especially since artists like Schoolboy Q, Earl Sweatshirt, Denzel Curry, and even Danny Brown could fit well on this more aggressive, powerful sounding beat. Regardless, this new single and “Always Strive and Prosper” are some of the best rap releases of 2016 and “Always Strive and Prosper” could possibly be one of the greatest albums to be released this year as well.
Give this new remix a listen and if you haven’t heard anything by A$AP Ferg before, then listen to anything off his two phenomenal studio albums: “Trap Lord” and “Always Strive and Prosper”! Be sure to check in to Erik’s Album Reviews often as we get closer to deciding what are the best rap albums and mixtapes of 2016!
Last week I previewed this new segment where I listen to each of the ten albums listed 1-2 times through and give them a quick, numerical rating out of 10. The ratings are always a whole number rating that do not include any other description besides the rating I have given them. If you would like to have an album receive a more in depth review, or think an album should have a different rating, let us know in the comments or contact us! Here is this week’s “The Thursday Ten”:
- Opeth – Sorceress: 5/10
- KILL SURF CITY – Wreckage: 8/10
- Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic: 7/10
- Good Tiger – A Head Full Of Moonlight: 8/10
- Cruel Hand – Your World Won’t Listen: 8/10
- Fit For An Autopsy – Absolute Hope Absolute Hell: 8/10
- I See Stars – Treehouse: 4/10
- Drake – Views: 5/10
- Pouya – Underground Underdog: 8/10
- Erra – Drift: 8/10
Like I’ve mentioned before, there are too many releases to have links to every single record discussed, but if you would like to check out any of the releases mentioned, they are all available on most of the most prominent music streaming sites! Also check out last week’s “The Thursday Ten” below and check in next week to see who we give ratings to next!