Fans of throwback, lyrical rap have yet another project to add to their playlists this year, as the rapper formerly known as The Astronomical Kid throws his hat into the fire-new-2017-albums ring with Grade A Frequencies. The project serves up more of his signature, Brooklyn-in-the-nineties-inspired flows over the good old boom-bap sounds that he’s become known for in the years since he dazzled the judges on The X Factor. The album is super-focused, coming in at 8 songs and one hilarious Bryson Tiller-skewering interlude:
On this new project, Stro expands on the range established on prior works Computer Era and Deadbeats & Lazy Lyrics, addressing the violence of the streets of his hometown on “P.S.A. Calm Down,” where he laments that “we run the block, but got no properties,” elsewhere waxing nostalgic, reminiscing on when he wished he was “The Cool Kid.” Through it all, he displays a polish that sets him apart from similarly-aged peers, sounding like a much older head — in the most complimentary way.
The obvious standout is going to be “Thank God For That,” as Stro gets introspective over a groovy, relaxed beat courtesy of Jack Dine, speaking on the depression that comes from being broke and out of options. His flow settles into the pocket, kicks out its legs, stretches out and sinks into the spaces between the kicks and snares as Stro proselytizes his positive point of view, with an “it gets better” message that will resonate with his contemporaries in the so-called millennial generation.
Old-school hip-hop heads and newjacks alike will find plenty to love on Grade A Frequencies. Give it a spin below and let us know what you think in the comments.
Grade A Frequencies is out now via Grade A Tribe Records. Get it here.