Credit for photo: Tog Dawg Entertainment
This past week has brought about the highly anticipated sophomore release for rapper Jay Rock’s album, 90059. The album comes after a long wait from his previous record Follow Me Home in 2011. The title stems from the zip code of his hometown of Watts, Los Angeles, California.
The album starts off strong with “Necessary”, a track directed at individuals who were once in Jay Rock’s shoes. People who have, at one point, had a need to hustle to improve their current situation. The album continues with several notable tracks, as Jay Rock takes you on a trip through his life. There are several key features on the project, mainly from his own record label of TDE. The likes of Isaiah Rashad, SZA, Ab-Soul, School Boy Q and of course Kendrick Lamar make an appearance. Other key additions are rap legend Busta Rhymes, Sir, and Jay Rock’s alter ego “Lance Skiiiwalker”. The beauty of these guest appearances, is none of the features seem to overpower Jay Rock’s voice, they merely compliment his powerful deliverance. An example of this can be seen on “Easy Bake” where he and Kendrick are heard exchanging lines, and Jay comes out on top. The only exception was his single “Vice City”, which seemed more like a Black Hippy/TDE single than a Jay Rock one.
The weaker tracks on 90059 consist of “The Ways” , which is the weakest track on the record. Sir’s hook does not compliment J Rock’s verse or the production. Also, the track is one of his less creative lyrical tracks, at least on a lyrical level. It is definitely a track that could have been left off of the record. Adding to this list is his alternate single, “90059” which may seem like Jay Rock is trying too hard to flaunt his masculinity, with hard bars, especially on the hook, displayed by, Skiiiwalker.
From a lyrical standpoint, some of the intro verses from the album come off as weak, or merely lack creativity. The verses themselves are filled with interesting content, but Jay Rock at times seems too infatuated with the street life, constantly referring to women and money, which begins to bore ones ears at a point. The strongest points are definitely the tracks “Telegram(Going Krazy)” where he unleashes his alter ego, which is pleasantly soothing, as well as “Necessary”, and “Gumbo” where he drops some of his most potent lines
An aspect of 90059 that lets the listener down is the transitions between tracks. It comes off a little unnatural and has you unsure if the track has ended, or if the beat was merely switched up in the middle of the track. The production quality is great on the record, and Jay Rock deserves the credit for his selection, but again, some transitions may erk you the wrong way.
Jay Rock, makes this album depicting his rough upbringing, as he represents his neighborhood. He does so delicately, not becoming too preachy, or trying to seem overly hard. It’s just Jay Rock being Jay Rock. Another strength was its length. The LP runs 11 tracks for a combined time of 45:31 minutes. It is to the point, leaving only a handful of weak points. The album doesn’t contain anything that will blow you away, but you won’t be disappointed with the record. In an era where double albums, and run times eclipsing the hour mark are a regular, 90059 comes off as refreshing, and leaves the listener engaged to Jay Rock’s words.
The album is a plus. It reminds us that Jay Rock is a contributor and not merely a spectator on the all star cast that is TDE. He also reminds us that if he isn’t already in the spot, he’s making a strong push for the record labels number two seat, behind Kendrick Lamar of course. 90059, is a positive record, it has its faults and may stir you the wrong way at times, but it does not do so for long, as it quickly recaptures its form, with the stronger tracks overpowering the album.