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Jay Rock, Follow Me Home

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. late that year, and signed to Strange Music not long after. Now, after the flame on his name was lit, extinguished, and reignited, Jay Rock has finally dropped his proper debut, Follow Me Home.

Reflecting the Top Dawg Ent. rapper’s lyrics and tone, the album is unapologetic and rugged, but sounds anything but rough. Following the “Intro (Skit)” comes “Code Red,” a quintessentially West Coast sounding beat with light keys and claps setting the backdrop for the first of Rock’s many hood tales. One of a handful of superb Kendrick Lamar sightings comes on “Hood Gone Love It,” which is followed by the mainstream-ready, ladies-dedicated “Westside,” featuring Chris Brown. The attempt seems out of Rock’s comfort zone, but doesn’t sound so. “Elbows,” produced by Phonix, plays like a classic Dr. Dre beat, full of spooky keys and funky basslines.

The organic chemistry of Black Hippy—comprised of Rock, Lamar, ScHoolboy Q and Ab Soul—is evident on “Say Wassup,” especially during the cut’s final minute and a half, as the four Cali rhymers flip nouns and verbs off of one another with seamless ease.

It’s this song, and more so “Just Like Me,” that differentiates Follow Me Home from a typical release from a rapper telling tales of life in the streets. Taking a step away from the gruff talk that marks most of the album, the track is a socio-cultural critical analysis of life in the ghetto and within gang culture. The dark key strokes and jazzy, crying horns set the stage for bars like, “It’s just a thought but don’t stress it man/Just know somebody momma out there suffering/Because she lost her baby to a stray bullet/Fell victim from all this gang shootin’.”

Rock’s raspy, violent flow proves a contrastingly harmonic marriage with the choppy keys and West Coast grooves that set the sound for much of the album. Add that to the intent with which Jay Rock delivers his chronicles on the conditions in the hood, it seems he’s ready to take the reigns and bring West Coast gangsta rap into a new area. The hood gone love it. —Adam Fleischer

  • jimmyjam

    no where near worth an xl. ppl bitch about rappers talking bout the same thing over and over, this dude spent a whole album talkin bout hood he is,i wouldnt mind if hewas actually a good lyricists or his beats were tht good. i mean seriously if wayne or jada made a song called im thugin ppl would be bitchin.

    • http://www.xxlmag.com RAp Lover

      Fuck off dude, Jay Rock is a real lyricist, he aint on some Lil Wayne weirdo shit, he actually makes good music. You can actually feel the sincerity of his words and his seriousness, unlike Lil Wayne who aint shit at all.

      • jimmyjam

        Realy how is he any different. a real lyricist, he bangs on about the same shit everone else does.

        • MikePlease

          When you pay attention to his word play, you can definitely see he’s way above most artist in his category. With that said, his lyrics have never been a problem with me, it was more his production.

        • bazzz

          the diffrent from everyone els, like lil gayne and those faggoots, is that jay can real paint those pictures for your mind, he aint bullshitting about his past! so dont be even compering that soft ass bubble gum rap to JAY MOTHER FUUCKING ROOCK!!

  • money mitch

    I gotta say i don’t like rappers that talk about hte same thing all the time but….JAY ROCK IS DOPE!! I’ve heard a couple tracks and he actually has a meaning behind what he says and i’ve seen him perform live in milwaukee with tech n9ne and jay rock tears it up on stage!! He’s dope live, way harder than a lot of rappers i’ve seen live!! He puts on a show that gets you hype.

  • MikePlease

    There are a few songs I wished he had left them off the album, but there are a lot of bangers. I like the album, just wish he would have took some extra time on the few weaker songs.

    • bazz

      I agree with u

  • G-UNOT

    Sounds a little like Xzibit. Code red is fire

  • Ty

    Classic Album!!!

  • Big_Verg

    Not a classic, but it was okay. Expected more from Jay Rock since he’s from the West and all.

  • yeahrightxxl

    the hood gone love it. xxl needs a new rating system. but the few songs i heard, since i would spend my lunch money on this album until i hear something worth buying, were tight nothing memorable though

  • BlockCapo

    Album was a classic, i can bang each and every song on this album, XXL all day, these niggas is sleepin on Jay Rock. Aint nobody fuckin with this nigga on some TRUE shit. But they aint gotta like it cuz the hood already love it.

  • Damany G

    Very dope Album! I am an East coast til the death but I am always looking for the Bangin West coast sh*t and Jay Rock made it happen. Looking forward to hearing more from his crew as well

  • RealAZ40

    Not worth an XL pretty good, but some of his hooks was lacking to me, and that made some songs just bad, but it was a really good album I’d give it an L, I also wish he got more promo, I literally found it was coming out the day it came out

  • Pingback: Jay Rock – Follow me home [Reviews]

  • a.Mic.C

    Listen to I’m Thuggin’ and try to hate. The song and the beat are dope. I wish Tech was on that one too

  • yay area

    sorry but this is an artist with deep lyrics authentic gangster experience. the man is a true thorough bred and can rhyme with the best of today’s dinosaurs and give them a run for their money. Its amazing to see how this guy has made a name for himself without the promotion drake other XXL freshmen got. If you were to listen to his mixtapes you would see nothing but solid consistency. This album should have got a XXL not a mere XL.

  • Ya_Boy_Rab_843

    Anyone who thinks this joint is musically illiterate. This is classic West Coast Dope! I’m from the South… (South Crackalaki) and We Bangin this one down here…Track 4- No Joke, The song speaks Real Life that we see everyday in the hood. Yall need to get on this cause to me it’s a XXL

  • Chur Cuz

    It’s just a good a album. It’s interesting, captivating, diverse in sound and subject and fun to listen to. there’s never enough voices coming from the hood. The best rappers have always had to work the hardest. beats are good and there’s heaps of top dawg boys on board :D this is a goodie!