We’re no stranger to Orlando-bred UK producer Big O here at AAHH, so giving a few hours to his latest collaborative effort with Philly/Jersey MC P-Rawb was a no-brainer. Rawb is half of The Jerzadelphians (a duo he forms with producer Shane Great) — though, for this run, Big O takes control of the overwhelmingly chill vibes, which are complemented by Rawb’s penchant for (lyrical) substance-infused pen game.
The nine-song platter, The Complexity, is drenched in positive vibes, jazzy energy, and affirmations for dreamers who hold on to hope in their hearts — while trudging through the gauntlet of everyday life.
The intro “Vertebrea” puts me in mind of the saying nothing changes if nothing changes; the idea that walking with your head in the manufactured clouds does nothing but hold you down. This letting your inner glow guide you seems to be an underlying string throughout the set, whether nodding to faith and preservation or just putting a battery in the backs of his listeners — on joints like “Keep Mov’n.”
A few standouts for me were “Crush,” a love-themed joint tinged with this almost glitchy mashup of neo-soul and computer glitch sound. As well, I gave a few extra spins to the heartfelt “Dear Anthony,” a letter to a lost friend, reminiscing on the arc of their long friendship — over a gorgeous soundscape by O, and with stellar vocals by Tyana Marie.
Then there is the emotion dripping from the slow flow of “Lost My Mind” featuring Gabby, with Rawb letting his pen drop tears amid the loud snare cracks and hypnotic vinyl cracks.
Overall, The Complexity has a lot of heart, and in a musical landscape that perpetually moves in a different direction, it brings with conviction. Life is a roller coaster. While mainstream fodder aims to distract merely, it’s always refreshing to hear complete bodies of work that sympathize, empathize, uplift and relate to listeners — much like the music that golden-era residents held so near and dear. P-Rawb and Big O have the chemistry of peanut butter and jelly, making for a well-rounded top to bottom listen.
Recommended movement music.