Friday, November 30, 2012

Album Review: Skyzoo- A Dream Deferred

Album Review: Skyzoo- A Dream Deferred

Artist- Skyzoo
Year- 2012
Rating: 8/10

Skyzoo has been one of the forerunners of quality music in underground hip-hop since his debut on the mixtape scene. Over the years he's been working diligently and picking up and over growing band of loyal followers along the way as a result of his hard work. His debut solo album “The Salvation” was released in 2009 and is highly regarded as a cult classic and one of the best albums in the decade. Skyzoo kept pressing forward with his music coming out with the The Great Debater project and the Penny Freestyle Series mixtape to build a buzz for his sophomore album “A Dream Deferred” which hopefully will meet the high standards set by his previous projects.

The bulk of the album is produced by the gifted !llmind who has his hand in every one of the beats on the album. Skyzoo has said that the album is truly just as much !llmind's as it is Sky's. A lot of the songs have a jazz-inspired sound to them which compliments Skyzoo's smooth, mellow voice perfectly. For features Skyzoo enlisted the talents of Jill Scott, Jessy Wilson, and Jared Evan for vocals with Freeway and Talib Kweli covering the actual rapping.

The intro to the album starts off with a quoted sample from the movie “Fresh”. The song itself has lines about ambition, the drive to get whatever it is you're trying to get what it is you're seeking in life. That drive is a recurring theme all throughout the album. Jill Scott delivers a beautiful hook in the same accompanied by an angelic production courtesy of !llmind. Towards the end of this song a few others there a live instrumentals giving the song an epic cinematic vibe. The very next song is much more upbeat with production by 9th Wonder, a producer Skyzoo is all to familiar with. Skyzoo dedicates the song to Chi-Ali, one of his inspirations that led to him deciding to become a rapper. Skyzoo pays homage to a lot of rappers in his own way over the course of the album by using classic lines that true hip-hop heads will get right away.

Range Rover Rhythm is one of the the stand out tracks on the album and cracks my top 10 of my favorite songs in 2012. Everything about the song is spectacular. The beat is smooth, but at the same time fast paced creating a perfect balance. Skyzoo who has the best voice in Hip-Hop right now comes with his basket ball metaphors that he's best at in one verse. His flow/delivery by itself makes anything he says come out as amazing so when he does say something that's truly innovative it sounds just that much better. The next few songs are more orientated to his growing female audience, but they're still great songs in their own regard.

A title fans typically give Skyzoo is the most poetic, similar to what Nas is regarded as. With that in mind it makes the ending segment of “How To Make It Through Hysteria” that much more fitting. He stops rapping and goes into a rhyming spoken-word as the beat calms down which may be my favorite point of the whole entire album. The next song “Steel'S Apartment” also captures Skyzoo at his finest. It starts out with a subtle question as to whether the rappers that lie about their past to claim a gangster lifestyle glamorize it and negatively affect others. Skyzoo has a seemingly simplistic style that makes some of his actual messages go right over your head if you aren't really paying attention, but that just gives you more of a reason to go and listen with an open mind.

“A Dream Deferred” is a solid release with many hidden gems from start to finish. Fantastic, original production and expert rapping. A very consistent album that will be remembered as a great piece of music in the artist's catalog. Skyzoo once again proves that the transition from mixtape to album is an easy one for him to make and that he's still a name to look out for in rap.


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