Review Summary: It still sounds as though, after 6 projects, Dizzy doesn't fully know what kind of rapper he wants to be.
I wish I could live under a rock and never know when new albums were coming out. Never be informed when new singles are dropped, songs are debuted via live performances or interviews are uploaded in which an artist hypes up their forthcoming projects. That'd be the life wouldn't it" All LPs would come as a pleasant surprise and I'd live in a bliss world of musical ignorance. Most of all, I'd never have to worry about the double-edged blade that is anticipation.
I figure since I've heard every project Dizzy Wright has released under the Funk Volume banner I might as well go into some discographical context. (Is "discographical" a word" Eh it is now.) In 2012 Dizzy released three projects: his studio album debut SmokeOut Conversations, a mixtape directly following it up titled Free SmokeOut Conversations Mixtape, and an EP called The First Agreement. Now if at least two things were extremely apparent from his first year on Funk Volume, Dizzy was a song writing machine and he LOVED marijuana. Unfortunately that means I'm not exactly the demographic he's trying to entice, or at least tired to rope in with his studio debut. I don't like SmokeOut Conversations. I consider it the worst project released under the Funk Volume label, but ironically enough the Free SmokeOut Conversations Mixtape that came a few months later is my favorite project from Dizzy and my second favorite Funk Volume released album. The First Agreement EP just kinda falls in the middle of those two for me, but regardless 2012 wasn't a terrible year for Dizzy. Then in 2013 Funk Volume had their "perfect year;" newly signed artist Jarren Benton dropped his studio debut My Grandma's Basement, Hopsin released, his much anticipated follow up to 2010's raw, Knock Madness and Dizzy released The Golden Age Mixtape. In my opinion all 3 of these projects are really good, but The Golden Age is easily the weakest. And maybe it was allowed to be since it was ONLY a mixtape after all, and the other two were studio albums. (I'm not gonna get into the politics of mixtapes vs studio albums. That's a tangent for another day). Like I said The Golden Age was still really good and what was even better was his 2014 released State Of Mind EP. This project had his best production and his most forward thinking lyricism to date, and he said it would be a significant precursor to what was to come in 2015.
Well we're in 2015 and what did we get" Dizzy Wright's sophmore studio LP The Growing Process. Harkening back to the first paragraph I was anticipating this album quite a bit. I even told my self that if it didn't leak early I would go to my local FYE and blindly buy it on release day. I figured that after 4 projects in a row from Dizzy that I liked there's no way I wouldn't love this. I even enjopyed two of the three singles released in support of the project; "Train Your Mind" and "Floyd Money Mayweather." And even though I didn't like "I Can Tell You Needed It" it was a weed song and I figured it'd be the only one since he didn't do those much anymore. So I had heard the worst right" Well actually yes. "I Can Tell You Needed It" (feat. Berner) is the worst song on the album. The hook is ear numbingly monotone, Berner's feature is extremely amateur and the lyrical content is as uninteresting, to me, as any weed song. Unfortunately this wasn't the only cut that had its main lyrical focus on sister Marry. There was also "Smokebox (Interlude)," and "Smoke You Out" (feat. Mod Sun). Both of which take such a one dimensional approach in tackling Marijuana that I find myself in much confusion as to how Dizzy sounds like a 14 year old who just smoked weed for the first time as opposed to a very vocal and long time consumer and legalization activist.
These three tracks are some of the albums biggest pitfalls, and they do sink deep, but there's quite a few highlights as well. Dizzy does show an impressive array of flows throughout the 16 song tracklist and presents, on paper at least, an impressive line up of producers and guest spots. On "God Bless America" we get a posse track containing the likes of Big K.R.I.T. and Tech N9ne. And they work surprisingly well with Dizzy over the SnizzyOnTheBeat produced song. The beat is very minimal but also lush with the small amount of instrumentation used to construct it and all of the emcees deliver very well written conscious verses discussing the many issues at play in racial inequality that are ever more prevalent in American media today. The second posse track towards the back end of the album is an, almost obligatory, Funk Volume group song. But as opposed to past Funk Volume posse tracks like "FV 2012," "FV 2013" and "Hoppa's Cypher" it's Hopsin produced and Hop does more singing then rapping. It's an interesting choice by Hopsin seeing that this is the last exposure his fans will get of him before his first single off of his upcoming studio LP Pound Syndrome. Never the less Dizzy, SwizZz and Jarren all do exceptionally well showing off their endless chemistry, but I can't say the same for Hopsin. His hook and verse are sang so off key and monotone I don't know how he thought it was even serviceable. The singing is only icing on the track ruining cake Hopsin metaphorically throws in Dizzy's face, because the instrumental is even worse. The trap hat flutters are slow and clunky and the entire beat is layered in farty synths. It sounds like something Travi$ Scott would have vomited on an Owl Pharaoh B-Side.
The bad hooks and instrumentals don't start and end with Hopsin. "Don't Ever Forget" (feat. Krayzie Bone) is a near 4 minute mediocre vocal performance. "Higher Learning (Intro)" has a dirty southern guitar driven instrumental that I'm not so crazy about, but the lyrics display a very interesting look through the magnifying glass of an artists mind when their more conscious material is neglected but their "turn up" tracks gain a significant amount of trafficking. My favorite song is the album's first single "Train Your Mind." The Smokie Morrison produced instrumental is fantastic and Dizzy goes in with one of his more interesting flows. Another favorite is the album's only real banger "Floyd Money Mayweather." The hook is addictive, Dizzy's flow is flexible and smooth and the beat Is very well polished and bumps the entire way through. The only other track that might be considered a banger is "Good Vibes," but the atrocious rock instrumental is so sweet I avoid it for fear of diabetes.
The album ends relatively well with the thought provoking "False Reality" discussing the issue of rappers putting up fake facades and the influence it might have on their listeners, the endearing "Daddy Daughter Relationship" which sees Dizzy celebrating his successful relationship with his daughter and book ending the track with a cute recording of his daughter talking to her soon to be brother, and "Will It Last" a song discussing a similar question asked in Kendrick Lamar's song "Immortal Man" earlier this year; will all of this fame and success last and will the fans stick around and see it to the end"
Overall I am very dissapointed with this project. It's all one big mixed bag. A lot of the hooks were bad, most of the features were good and the production was pretty much 50/50. It was sequenced very well and praise can definitely be given to Dizzy for trying so many different sounds and styles, but the focus wasn't there and it still sounds as though, after 6 projects, Dizzy doesn't fully know what kind of rapper he wants to be.