Review Summary: "I don't really look like a rapper"
Jonwayne is a rapper from southern California. Rap Album Two
is his first release after his departure from Stones Throw Records. Before the release of this album, Jonwayne released an open letter giving his reasons as to why he was hesitant to release it. The open letter detailed Jonwayne's battle with alcoholism and the struggle of using this alcoholism to create his art. Jonwayne uses these details from his open letter to help write songs on this album such as “Out of Sight” or “Blue Green”. While the content of this letter is not the main theme of Rap Album Two
, it plays an important part in the bigger picture of the album. Jonwayne primarily uses this album to show the process of reinventing yourself into a better person, while still dealing with everyday struggles that can eat away at anyone. Jonwayne struggles through issues such as isolation, alcoholism, and depression, but he shows how overcoming these problems can result in a bigger payoff via Rap Album Two
. Jonwayne becomes aware of these things in himself throughout the album, but has an issue of coming to accept these realities. Songs such as “Out of Sight” or “Afraid of Us” go into detail about wanting to change yourself, but being afraid of what comes after.
The strongest aspect of this album is the way Jonwayne translates his thoughts and emotions into words. Jonwayne proves himself to stand out among other rappers by writing prolific lyrics consistently throughout a song bar after bar. Tracks like “Out of Sight” and “Blue Green” detail personal issues Jonwayne has dealt with, and also show where his lyrics can be heartfelt too. “Blue Green” is a personal song detailing his battle with alcoholism in which Jonwayne comes to the realization he could have died choking on his vomit in his hotel room. These instances illustrate the enormous amount of pain Jonwayne dealt with to the listener. While the album does have its depressing moments, it also has its more upbeat moments in “City Lights” and the closing track, “These Words Are Everything”. “City Lights” has this glistening beat, and the closing track contains this glitchy beat that probably has Jonwayne at his most mature and fits perfectly as a closer. The album also has a nice amount of variety in the sound, and even includes a moment of noise at the end of “Rainbow”. The subtle quirkiness in the production on this album is worth being noted. Even after several listens I still find details that I missed previously such as the voice at the end of “Afraid of Us” that transitions into “Blue Green”. It should also be noted that Jonwayne did most of the production on this album (9 of the 12 tracks were produced by Jonwayne). The one problem with the structure of the songs on this album is the way they tend to end abruptly or on an awkward note. It kind of leaves a sense of incompleteness.
While there are depressing aspects to Rap Album Two
, the album does not leave a depressing effect after listening to it. To me, this album is that glimmer of light in a very dark place because of the fact that Jonwayne does not let his demons get the best of him. It is a blessing that Jonwayne was able to create this album because he shows that his relatable pain is only temporary. This does not mean the album is perfect as there are awkward segments such as the ending of “Rainbow,” or the interlude track “The Single”. The runtime of certain songs is also slightly disappointing because tracks such as “LIVE From the *** You” or “TED Talk” have a lot of potential to be more fleshed out. Rap Album Two
contains plenty of high moments, but Jonwayne still has yet to reach his full potential. This album is an excellent release from Jonwayne in which he certainly shows a promising future.