After an intro based news clip on a drive by shooting, Jay Rock presents “Code Red” as his opening track. His rendition of a “welcome to my hood” type track, produced by Phonix and if I didn’t know any better I would’ve questioned this being a Dr. Dre beat. On this track he speaks on the “same ol’, same ol’” hood stuff, just from his and Watt’s point of view. He rhymes “Red rag around a nina, no doubt I’m livin’ it/been claimin’ the set since the year they found Snoop innocent”, that’s self explainatory right? This one is a banger!
“Bout That” is Jay Rock’s picture of holding oneself down against all odds, vivid bars on the harsh realities of inner city living. However you may feel about hardcore rap is your opinion, but if you didn’t come up around this environment it may seem ignorant to you. However, I feel it because stress on life is hard but being less fortunate alone is enough to make positive decision making unimportant because in a nutshell it’s truly “survival of the fittest”. Lines like “I sold soap to the homie’s mama, lost a couple customers/Narcs in v-necks fit in just to f**k with us” are so real, truly speak volumes to the streets. In my opinion It’s sounds like a beautiful nightmare, from experience but making it out makes it motivational. Feel me? Being a product of your environment is what it’s usually referred to as.
The forth, fifth, and thirteenth tracks on “Follow Me Home” are all collaborations with Jay’s TDE/Black Hippy counterparts. First up is “No Joke” which features AB-Soul on the hook. And produced by Willie B, the beat is dope on so many levels. In my opinion this is one of Rock’s best lyrical performaces, standing in the middle of the beat and fitting his bars in perfect. The track is full of crazy word play matched with him penning tales of hustler. Verses are plain sick, Rock showed and proved he’s no joke behind that mic. “My mamma tell me tred softly/gotta keep the feds off me/Gotta keep them guns on me/I know them mahf**kers want me/Know I gotta hold it down/ know I gotta run my town/Know tomorrow’s never promised/Know I gotta get it now/Know I got a job to finish/ Know I need stock to grow
Know I need Lord’s forgiveness/know I’ve been through obstacles”, those are lines from the third verse which I think is one of the top 10 verses I’ve heard in 2011. This one is indeed repeat worthy, and no doubt it’s my favorite song on this album.
The fifth placement is “Hood Gone Love It” featuring Kendrick Lamar and produced by J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League. This one is embracing the hood for what it means to oneself, as a whole it reminds me of something Young Jeezy would deliver to the masses just from that LA state of mind. Jay painted the perfect picture for this track, with lines like these “This that project hair cut and a quarter sack/this is where Jose front you them boulders at/meet ya quota whenever I put a quote on the track” K. Lamar spits a rock solid sixteen putting the finishing touches on this west coast classic. I deem “Hood Gone Love It” barber shop, cook out, ridin’ with the top back, house party aproved and I’m sure you will agree.
Later in the album you’ll be more than pleased with the Black Hippy group collaboration “Say Wassup”, it’s repeat worty indeed full of dope verses. Not being biased at all but I think Rock came off the hardest, maybe because it’s his album? In whatever case, this is definitely one of the top five songs on “Follow Me Home” especially for those like me who are awaiting a group project from their team. Sounds like they had fun recording this one and the finished product came out dope beyond measure, and honestly is my favorite collaboration o Jay Rock’s debut LP.
Besides this album being highly impressive lyrically, I really like the fact that Rock has a few vocalists singing hooks on here which makes the music even better. I’m not familiar with him but I’m guessing J. Black is one of Rock’s close comrades as I’ve heard these two perform together prior to “Follow Me Home”. He lays vocals on both “Just Like Me” and “M.O.N.E.Y.”, within the tracklisting these two are twelve and fifteen. I’m sure both of these track are very personal to Jay Rock, seeing as how LA breeds the gang culture on a higher level than any city in the states possibly globally as well. These two are intertwined subject matter wise, really in depth descriptions on how things develop, and what I appreciate the most is he’s telling both sides of the streets. There are so many rappers that only give the masses a vision of success when living a criminal lifestyle. Both of these track were produced by Terrace Martin, he created great canvases for Jay Rock to speak to the truth and give personal views on topics that are overly praised. I made an assupmtion that he’s moreso trying to reach the youth with these two, I just hope they take heed because it’s always a plus to get advice from someone speaking from personal experience rather than the blind leading the blind.
Rock didn’t forget about the ladies on this album, Chris Brown features on a Tha Bizness produced track, nice collaboration from these two entitled “WESTSIDE”. “That body lookin’ yummy, yea’ that ass talkin’/Sexy, her swag awesome/Jimmy Choo bag flossin’”, you know how these tracks go.
“Boomerang” is a cool, laid back track dedicated to the ladies as well. This one will surely get their hips rocking, the gentlemen’s clubs should love it equally. One thing about the average hardcore rapper is they have slight difficulty making club or radio friendly tracks but it looks like Jay pulled it off. Now is the perfect time (summer) for these two to get some spins on radio & the clubs as well, I can see it especially out west. Nothing too crazy here but it’s real talk so with that being said…Play on playa’!
Another of my favorite tracks is”Elbows”, it’s hard but it screams west coast. That classic sound is delivered once more from Phonix on this beat. I gurantee this will be blaring from the sounds systems all over LA. “Elbows” is definitely another top tier tracks on this album, feels great to hear the new era rappers bring that particular sound back in 2011. “All I Know Is” is equally as impressive sound wise, certified banger overall. I love this track! I salute Rock for keeping this sound alive because it is a “new west” sound but he found that fine line to be sure he pays homage to those who put it down before him all while having his own style musically.
“Im Thuggin” and “Kill Or Be Killed” are two other Willie B produced tracks on “Follow Me Home”, these two go hand and hand. “Kill Or Be Killed” features Jay Rock’s CEO and label mate at Strange Music, Inc. in Tech N9ne & Krizz Kaliko. Solid tracks in the most I can say about these because they’re a little overly hard for my liking, however those who like these guys more than me will probably love them both.
On “They Be On It” Jay Rock is in baller mode, it’s cool because cars, diamonds, etc. isn’t all he ever raps about unlike 95% of rappers. I guess he was catering to the fans down south on here as well, it has a sound I’d expect to hear from T.I. or Bun B. good song but a feature would’ve made this one a banger for sure.
J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League lends their production for a second on time “Finest Hour” featuring BJ The Chicago Kid’s vocals on the hook and a verse from Rick Ross. “Finest Hour” has a mafioso sound, at the same time it sounds like Jay Rock’s coming out party. You know? That “Mama I made it” track most rappers have of either of their first two album. In any case, I like this song for what it is.
Another really serious track “Lifes A Gamble”, he’s speaking on just how the easy it is to be caught up in a web of deceit, and how negativity arises from those on the outside looking in when someone reaches a certain level of success. Free game is always respected by me, I’d much rather gain some sort of wisdom whether it’s street, intellectual, or spiritual than to hear about a bunch of things that aren’t close to being attainable for the average individual. I mean we can all reach massive success but there’s a big difference between acheiving “big wig” success compared to just reaching the american dream.
The album closes with the track the really gained a lot of buzz for Jay Rock a few years ago, that’s “All My Life” produced by the miami based duo of Cool & Dre. This tracks has a guest appearances from Lil Wayne and Will.I.Am. I’m sure we’re all familiar with this song, in this case is stacks one last rock solid placement to close out Rock’s debut album.
I consider “Follow Me Home” the best album from a west coast rapper that I’ve heard since Dr. Dre’s “Chronic 2001″. That may seem far fetched but comparing this album to The Game’s debut “The Documetary” just doesn’t add up from my prospective, although Game had HUGE records I feel like that album was a Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson project. I honestly feel like this album is so LA and deserves high acclaim, the environment west coasters live was truly captured on this album. It’s a classic in my opinion as well, add to that it has eighteen tracks and in 2011 that’s retro in it’s own right. With that being said I rate Jay Rock’s “Follow Me Home” nine points out of a possible ten and I give it the rank of being my favorite album of 2011 thus far. The west coast is back and I’m anticipating to hear more work from Jay Rock and the rest of the “New West” movement.