It’s damn near impossible not to compare Jay Rock to Game, given their similar Cali backgrounds, Blood gang affiliations and penchant for chronicling the street scene just as vivid as an A&E documentary. Nonetheless, Rock managed to blaze his own path by letting his music speak the loudest, avoiding unnecessary publicity and landing himself a record deal with Tech N9ne’s Strange Music as a reward for his efforts. Favoring an open-door policy to begin his career, Jay Rock delivers the satisfying Follow Me Home to offer up a bit of insight of the mind of a Top Dawg.
A gruff vocal furnishing and a humorless outlook on life gives JR’s words credibility and urgency as he napalms himself through records like “Code Red” and “Bout That” out the gate. Although he peppers his music with visions of crack fiends and active firearms at nearly every turn, his cleverness as an artist isn’t to be taken lightly. “M.O.N.E.Y.” is an acronym-to-alliteration foreboding tale of the root of all evil while “They Be On It” and “Hood Gone Love It” (both featuring Kendrick Lamar) are dripping with West Coast gangsta party greatness. Producers Terrace Martin and Willie B., among others, add greatly to …Home’s foundation, providing dark yet thrilling sonic conceptions that match the mature themes.
Jay Rock is well adept in varying his flow above the normal two-bit rhymer, but most of Follow Me Home’s episodes come in the form of third-person, leaving the notion of his individuality to enigma. With a tally of 18 songs, JR gradually repeats himself with the similar subject matter. A record like “Life’s a Gamble” plays the odds when predicting the outcome of a street life, and it’s nothing you haven’t heard before. And considering the musical stature of heavyweights in Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and will.i.am, the studio sessions that produced “Finest Hour” and “All My Life” seemed rushed and pale in comparison to the chemistry found on a track such as the Black Hippy communion of “Say Wassup.”
For his first chip off the block however, Rock submits a convincing and stellar CV, evident of his determination to become a fixture in the world of rap. And he will. Climbing the usual ladder to becoming a national recording artist has seen its fair share of rungs removed, thanks to the new digital marketplace. Solely off the strength of Follow Me Home, Jay Rock shows he has the potential to be one of the first “New West” acts to garner a massive fan base off the net. The neighborhood should observe and follow along.
Label: Top Dawg Entertainment/Strange Music | Producers: Cool & Dre, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Tha Bizness, Terrace Martin, Focus…, Dae One, Willie B., Sounwave, J. LBS, Keith The Beast, Phonix Beats, Rob E.