Its been a long road for Christopher Ries. Coming off the success of the much revered Roc-A-Fella era, Chris has endured his share of setbacks. However, after a string of well-received mixtapes—in addition to his Network series—the past is steadily becoming the past. Following the tepidly received, L.I.F.E., Young Chris shifts gears with The Revival, a project that finds him poised at reclaiming a limelight long overdue.

Teaming up with burgeoning producer Cardiak, who handles the project's entire production, Chris kicks off the rejuvenation on the blaring intro, which finds him bellowing, "Long after the Roc, nigga still in here/Shoutout the whole Prop, it'll never be no hard feelings here/Tired of every interview asking about the split up/They got dropped, I left the label, got picked up." Cardiak's horn-thumping backdrop allows Chris to scat through effortlessly with slick wordplay, including on the chilling "Fuck The Other Side," featuring fellow State Property comrade Peedi Crakk, who appears on three of the tape's 15 tracks. Here, YC reloads his lyrical ammo over the piercing production, shooting morbid lines like, "Long as they know they ain't the only ones firing that iron/Leave the kid without a dad, baby mommas is crying."

Cardiak and Chris's chemistry seems fluid throughout the project, especially on the drum-knocking, "Triple Threat" featuring Fred The Godson and Vado. The 1970s-esque sound sets proper mood for the lyrical gangster affair. The same can be said on the undeniably sulking, "Flatline," with Lloyd Banks, and steaming street tale, "Murder Outside," with Beanie Sigel. The latter finds Beans stealing the show with callous bars like, "We like the A-Team, when me and Young swing past blocks/Hop out them black vans, with that swing/Or them SKs heavy spray, blick at cops/Keep your kids in the house, everything get shot/Pop two to your dome, the murder rate so high in Philly, we putting stocks in funeral homes."

Aside from a few slumps ("Straight Shots"), The Revival finds Young Chris with reignited energy. Much is ascribed to Cardiak who executes with his influx of insatiable beats. Though his Division 1 debut is still in the making, Young Gunna sums things up on "Class Is In Session": "Come from the Roc/Still hot, life after." —Ralph Bristout