Review Summary: A mixed bag...
There are many rollercoaster careers in the music world. Some of the most high-profile cases would be Metallica, Eminem, Megadeth, Jay Z and Iron Maiden. Artists whose music has gone from a high and then took a huge dip. The difference between those artists and this review's subject is that those bands are high profile enough to manage to still sell copies. Jin Au-Yeung didn't.
Jin is the first Chinese solo rapper to ever recieve a major record deal, with Ruff Ryders, after winning events at The Jump Off and, more famously, Freestyle Friday. From there he released his long awaited debut album The Rest Is History at age 22, after a year-long delay, granting Jin his five minutes of fame. The album recieved favourable reviews, with critics praising the lyrical content and the flow of the album as a whole, but stating that there were many stale moments and the beats were not as fresh as a major record label would indicate. The album managed to reach 54 on the Billboard 200, spending three weeks there.
The album is 17 songs long, clocking in at little over an hour, with 2 interlude tracks, and 8 guest appearances, the most notable of which being the world renowned Twista and Kanye West. With 15 real tracks, filler is to be expected, and this album pretty much sums up this stereotype, having several very annoying filler songs that do nothing for the album. However, this is balanced out by some rather good songs.
Following a Skit, we have the first three proper tracks on the album, which are the three best on the album. Here Now is one of the strongest songs on this album lyrically, but is minorly held back by a choppy flow. Get Your Handz Off is hands down the finest song on the album, with some great lyrics, a nice flow and a fresh beat. Club Song is, as stated, a song that is intended to be played in clubs. It contains a funky bassline to it, and a nice piece of drumming, with an incredibly catchy chorus to it.
There is nothing special about the following two tracks, despite the rather redundant guest appearance from Twista, but the Kanye track is one of the worst on the album. I Got A Love has some of the weakest lyrics on the album, an incredibly poor beat to it, and a terrible chorus to it. Kanye can not save this song from the abyss it has sunk into.
Learn Chinese has the nice line that Jin is not trying to mimic Eminem or any of the other high profile rappers, but has the annoying female vocals,The Good the Bad And The Ugly is one of the more personal songs to Jin, and is a good song. He admits he has never been a drug dealer, so there is no point rapping about that sort of thing. Cold Outside delivers this message best, with the line "I aint a Killer, I aint a gangsta... I aint never said i was", and remains one of the better tracks on the album.
Love Story is one of the most heart felt songs on the album, with some killer lyrics to it that flow together perfectly, without compromising the story Jin is trying to tell. The song is absolutely amazing, and really is worth a listen. As a whole product, the first two proper songs may top this, but not as a pure story to tell. This is a beautifully written song that merits a listen.
The beats on this album are one of the weakest sides of it, as shown on The Good The Bad And The Ugly and various other tracks. They sound far too mainstream for a rapper like Jin, who will never hit the mainstream, and they provide the bulk of the problem with this album. Jin is not Eminem, he does not write lyrics in the mainstream-oriented style, he is an East Asian rapper attempting to make a life through music, nothing more, and therefore the beats do not fit his style.
Lyrically, Jin is on top of his game here. This tops his Freestyles and the albums that would come later, with the best moments being the first two proper tracks, Here Now and Get Your Handz Off, and Senorita and Cold Outside. Senorita also has a nice chorus to it that you will be rapping along to. He is light years in front of much of the competition on this album, and that is, as with all rap albums, the main reason to buy it.
There are many rollercoaster careers in the music world, and Jin is the prime example of that. His Freestyle Friday's were the rise, this was the peak, and everything that followed this was the sharp descent. He would never again hit the lyrical heights he hits here. However, the beats on this album are as flat and one dimensional as it gets, and many of the guest appearances are rather unnecessary, so i am unable to wholly recommend this to anybody. 3/5