“Lord have mercy, have mercy,
I know I ain’t living right and know I’m not perfect;
But, I gotta eat, so what I’m doing it’s worth it.”
– Jay Rock
Jay Rock, much like his TDE comrade Kendrick Lamar was a slow-burn artist. By that – of course – I mean that he was heavily touted as next to blow for many years before the world saw/heard and appreciated what industry insiders saw in the Cali native. He was MTV’s breakout artist in 2010, graced the XXL freshman cover years several years ago. As Kendrick’s mythological status grew to astral-heights, and the reverence of the TDE roster exploded, so did the status of Jay Rock. His official sophomore release, 90052, has been highly anticipated – and didn’t disappoint.
The album grows on you with multiple listens and has a wonderful arrangement. In fact, it’s reminiscent of classic albums like Dogg Pound’s Dogg Food, which also used a bevy of cool transitions and interludes to weave together the songs into a cohesive cover to cover banger. It has a sonic quality you’ve come to love – and expect – from TDE, and only breaks character momentarily on the title track. 90052 [the song] sports an East coast, almost Shaolin sound/flow. The above transition and song-within-song arrangement comes into play on songs like the buttery bass filled Gumbo, and the Kendrick assisted Easy Bake. Both of which are in my top 3 on this disc. The third song would have to be the soulful Telegram, which I currently have on repeat.
This is an album that will definitely be talked about for years to come. Even though it’s a sophomore release, to many new fans, it will be their first introduction to Jay Rock, and the sheer hunger in his bars may have them truly believing this is an official debut. But Busta said it himself on the neo-soul vibed Fly On The Wall:
“We’ve been rockin’ for a long time, Jay Rock /They ain’t got a clue of the timing / I heard about you from Slay when you started shinin’ / They ain’t knowin’ this our fourth collab from 2009.”
Don’t get it twisted, Jay Rock has been in this game for a minute – and now it’s his time in the spotlight. If you didn’t Rock with him before, you no longer have any excuses! 90052 is a must listen.