Release Date: Jul 26, 2011
Record label: Strange Music
Genre(s): Rap, Hardcore Rap, West Coast Rap
Like the Game before him, the Watts-born Rock uses his long-awaited debut, Follow Me Home, to build a shrine to the realer-than-thou mentality of the old Death Row family, brick by thugged-out brick. Thankfully, he matches his reverence with skill, blitzing his minimalist beats with a sweaty, fervent flow that recounts a lifetime of watching out for death and working the hustle. The guest list (Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Rick Ross) is impressive too, though the satellite players sometimes introduce too much polish — like a Whole Foods glistening on skid row.
The emergence of young emcees from California has been highlighted for the last couple of years with Blu, Fashawn, Kendrick Lamar and Odd Future leading the way. It’s hard not to notice the new batch of prospects giving the area life where Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and others once did the same. Part of this reemergence and resurgence has been showcased with the new release of Jay Rock’s Follow Me Home album, a project that has Watts, California’s fingerprints all over it.
Like a real-life urban drama script (think Hustle & Flow or Juice), Jay Rock's hard-edged debut focuses on his struggles to leave the mean streets behind him as he tries to make it as an artist. As a onetime gang member of the Bloods in the projects of Watts, California, Rock has street credibility to spare, and like gangsta purveyors N.W.A and Snoop Dogg, he has a true knack for rhyming about the dangers of the West Coast. Follow Me Home was several years in the making.
Jay Rock could have been another victim. Growing up, he could have become a victim of the violence that plagues his native Watts, California. And just when it seemed like he was poised to make it out of the hood, he nearly became a victim again—this time of major label shelving. But the 2010 XXL Freshman parted ways with Warner Bros.