Album Reviews Music

Musical Advent Calendar #22 Jonwayne – Rap Album Two

Following Jonwayne’s first full length rap effort, ‘Rap Album One’, the producer-rapper-poet extraordinaire’s future was somewhat ambiguous. Dropping from his label, cancelling tour dates and distancing himself from the scene completely all stemmed from the rapper’s battle with alcoholism, worsened by the harshness of his new lifestyle and complemented further by a limiting fear of flying.

Fast forward to February 2017, “Rap Album Two”, Jonwayne’s second full-length rap project focuses on these struggles, acting both as an introspective view of Jonwayne’s fragility through self-critique, but also as a sobering view of the frailty of “the rap celebrity” in general.

Rap Album Two is an existential masterpiece, and sees Jonwayne asking himself if a career in rap, although he knows he is good at it, is even worth it, expressed through the documentation of his own crises. Unlike Rap Album One, where the producer’s rapping serves no real narrative purpose (rather just a loop of braggadocios and heady verses), Rap Album Two’s verses are weighed with purpose in each sentence, accented perfectly with smooth beats laden with minor piano chords and tones.

The intro track ‘TED Talk’ features a spiralling melody which sets the atmosphere for the album. ‘LIVE From The Fuck You’ is a part-skit part-song that catalogues a conversation between a fan and Jonwayne on a night out, where the fan requests Jon to rap a few bars; which he reluctantly does, spitting cleverly crafted verses about people only wanting to be close to him because they want something from him.  Another part-song, part-skit, ‘The Single’, a song that Jonwayne attempts to finish multiple times before completely scrapping, perfectly highlights the message of the whole album; the punishing reality of chasing stardom. ‘Afraid Of Us’ is a heart-warming ballad-type song as a tribute to his family and loved ones who have supported him when he couldn’t do the same, with sung vocals from Zeroh who fits in perfectly.The last song, ‘These Words are Everything’ leaves the album on a sobering message as the rapper ponders the influence he will leave when he’s gone; “But when I die, I know my words will be my only thing”.

Whilst Jonwayne isn’t reinventing the wheel with ‘Rap Album Two’, the rapper perfects a sound made popular by his inspiration MF DOOM. Every verse is well crafted with purpose, and is quite clearly a cathartic and reinvigorating experience for the rapper himself as well as the listener, with the producer evolving into a rapper with newfound purpose.

 

Ben Jones

 

If you like the sound of that check out some more on our end of year playlist!

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