Jay Rock's music is consumed by his struggles; he wrestles with the granular details of street life and gangbanging. His clear-eyed accounts of surviving in the California ghettos are far from glamorous. "Struggle" is an operative word in the retelling of his story. When asked why he was the first artist to get signed by Top Dawg CEO Anthony Tiffith, he responded, "Me and him, we come from the same neighborhood; we come from the same struggle," therein lying an unspoken bond.
Jay Rock is back from the brink, and we listeners are blessed to hear the tale. As the Top Dawg MC aptly puts it on the instantly engrossing opening line of Redemption, his first LP since recovering from a motorcycle accident: "The devil thought he had me!"
That line kicks things off on opening track "The Bloodiest," on which Jay Rock spits candidly, and laudably, about steep hospital bills and his mama's prayers over ominous creaks akin to horror film violins. Revealing as that song is, Jay Rock ups the vulnerability ante considerably ….
While he isn't the most popular of all the rappers signed to Top Dawg Entertainment, Jay Rock has always been a standout act. On the team, he's the street rapper with a lot of stories to tell and his music reflects the environment he was raised in - LA's Nickerson Gardens Project. It's been three years since 90059, but two releases from this album - 'King's Dead' (his contribution to the Black Panther soundtrack) and the striking 'WIN' - built up anticipation.