Album Reviews

Image courtesy of LRVN

By: Youeal Abera, Staff Writer

Last Day of Summer by Summer Walker

In a musical era where R&B made a comeback, Summer Walker managed to stand out amongst the group of women at the resurging genre’s forefront. As her soulful single, Girls Need Love, captured the attention of music-lovers this past summer, many were intrigued by the questions of who the young artist was and what she would do next. Nevertheless, as she dropped her debut album this past year, Last Day of Summer, Walker delivered a message loud and clear: her music and talent isn’t going anywhere.

The album opens with the smooth-serenading track titled “BP,” in which Summer denies a man’s romantic interest in spite of his lack of experience being turned down. Throughout this album, these elements of agency and empowerment are laden in the midst of the bass-heavy, slow-playing tracks. The album’s most popular song, “Girls Need Love,” expresses Walker’s desire to let her crush know that, just like any man, girls enjoy sex and should therefore be free to say so.

The final song on the album, “Just Like Me,” showcases Summer in a more vulnerable light, letting her significant other know that, even in lieu of the flaws found in their relationship, her belief that they belong together is ardent. This song’s transparency and raw emotion are the kind that not many, even in the world of R&B, have expressed in a very long time.

Although the Last Day of Summer album is only this songbird’s first, Walker’s grit and authenticity strongly indicate a prosperous career.

There You Have It by Reason

Discover vivid lyrics, descriptive story-telling, and profound resonance in There You Have It, the debut album by Top Dawg Entertainment’s Reason. An endearing and powerful record, Reason recalls being a young black man within a disenfranchised community in America.

After the humorous “Rufus Collection (Skit),” Reason exudes great ambition and determination on the album’s title track “There You Have It.” The intelligent wordplay, precise diction, and tangible, musical competence within the MC’s voice motivates listeners into believing that they too are more than capable of reaching any dream.

Reason uses another standout track, “Colored Dreams/Killers Pt.2,” to reveal the fallacy behind gang culture — a culture which provides nothing but pain and heartache while falsely advertising power and prosperity. The track offers a breath of fresh air for hip-hop, a genre in which young fans  who don’t actually come from “‘hoods,” brag about violent acts that they have never committed.

“State We In,” the second-to-last track on the album, is perhaps the most imperative message song on the record. An homage to the men and women from his community, Reason uses the song to accentuate the message of hope and faith. Reason also bravely admits some of his biggest fears on the track, stating “Tryin’ to stay strong, my biggest fear is my future son bein’ Trayvon / Or me Eric Garner, they murder me, then blame him for not havin’ a father”. Through admitting the fear of having his future son or himself die at the hands of law enforcement, Reason sheds light on a systematic issue of Black lives being murdered and discarded by America’s law system.  What’s most earnest about State We In is that in spite of Black men in hip-hop not typically being permitted to open up about significant worries, Reason admits a very real, daunting fear that he shares with other Black men.

With albums like this, hip hop doesn’t sound so dead. Instead, it sounds like Reason’s voice.