Joey Purp was a name I had only heard passing, then I saw talk of his newest project iiidrops. It is easily in my mind the best rap project I have heard all year. It is fantastically produced, mixed exceptionally, and the storytelling and imagery found within the songs is excellent.
The first cut on the album “Morning Sex” is the perfect opener, it introduces us to the sonics that will be heard throughout the album. Horns and bombastic drums fill out the landscape, Joey lands firmly in the middle giving us a focal point. He uses this to advantage, exceeding expectations and lacing his raps with hard truths and personal experiences. “You see the world through my daughters eyes, If you had see what she has seen you'd be traumatized.”
“Money & Bitches” featuring Mick Jenkins is one of the more political cuts, Joey not only talks about how there is a culture of wanting more earthly wealth and possessions. As well as the erasure and whitewashing of black history. “They taught us to value possesions, obsess with expenses. They taught us accept your position, the bottom will fit you… They taught us that hooping and rapping is all we invented. They taught us to speak your opinion and get you arrested.”
“Cornerstore” stands above the rest of the songs here. Joey and Saba both bring some of the best verses I’ve heard this decade, all centered around this idea of going to the corner store. Joey talks about how as a child he was looking for a remote car charger, when instead he found a revolver. He also talks about the unfair treatment from the justice system that will take a father from their child until 2050. Gentrifiers are also talked about as destroying the projects to build condos. That will eventually drive people into even more squalor and destitution. In a city that is basically the working model for how to segregate communities. Saba’s verse is spectacular, from the beginning to the end he laces it with personal experience and vivid pictures of life.
“I left my house this morning with the intent of returning. The last thing that I heard was the news of a murder. That wasn't more than a couple blocks from where I rest my head. But I'm certain that it was a stranger, that's how I detach myself from the situation..My best friend from when I was 11 posted with the weapon. Acting like he do not see me stepping to their section. We used to hoop daily and treat it like a profession. And now I'm walking by him like I'm some type of pedestrian.”
The beat on Cornerstore is ridiculous the horns section is vast and varied. Sliding against each other in places to show just how many of them there are. The drums hit hard and drive everything forward. The use of the keys fills the beat out nicely. Then at the end a slight snippet from the last song “escape” plays. Which is one of the nice touches that interconnects this project as well as the obvious references to eyes. On the first song alone Joey mentions how he sees things, his mom sees things, and his daughter sees things. Saba brings this back up when he tells his granddad he will be home by 6.
This album is a must listen. It is sitting high on my short list forfavorite albums this year. It is top to bottom immensely enjoyable. Songs like “Girls @”, “Say You Do”, and “Photobooth” are songs you should turn up to. While others are more sobering, especially as I write this a day after another black man was killed by the police (Alton Sterling, July, 5th 2016). Cornerstore especially is one that I think could raise the consciousness of many. Joey Purp is certainly going to be someone I pay attention to now.
by Addison Garry (@addisonagarry)