Aside from the underrepresented efforts of Hit-Boy with his release of Tony Fontana and KYLE’s bubbly, positivist Light of Mine, the West Coast has been uncharacteristically quiet amongst the showering of recent releases and rising of tension across hip-hop. But with the release of Jay rock’s Redemption, brimming over with a slew of established stars, TDE has refocused hip-hop’s eye.
Even amidst the at-this-point well-established, and aggressively emphatic lead-up singles, The Bloodiest, WIN, and of course, King’s Dead, Redemption as a finished construct is able to unearth a sharper, more introspective identity playing to the strengths of the lyrically endowed Watts native. In fact, from start to finish, the most glaring consistency is Jay Rock’s traditional delivery and vibrant depictions of life as he knows it.
Perhaps his intensely descriptive and unapologetic representation of that life is what has long kept him an underappreciated, underrated member of the TDE team. It’s not a project for the faint of heart, and likewise, not one for the casual fans of hip-hop. But for the true fans, and for the old head traditionalists in particular, Redemption has got to be one of the most exciting projects of 2018 so far with only Nas’ long-awaited Kanye collaboration stealing the top spot.
Redemption is 44 minutes of high-energy, lyrically-supreme rap stricken with graces of the industry’s best including two from his music-topping label-mates. In addition to Kendrick Lamar and SZA, J. Cole’s presence on the album is not only an obviously welcomed and exciting feature, but a nod to Jay Rock’s penmanship and materiality; While features from Jeremih (Tap Out) and Future (King’s Dead) further display what we’ve always known – that Jay Rock, even boasting the bars and delivery of a true, perhaps even old-school rapper, is versatile enough to be a more established force in the popular hip-hop community.
Redemption very well should be the album to make that happen.