Album Review: Jonwayne – Rap Album Two

By Justin Cudahy, Staff Writer
[Authors; 2017]
Rating: 8/10

Key Tracks: “Out of Sight”, “Blue Green”

In December of last year, Jonwayne released a letter to his fans over social media detailing his fight with alcoholism and recent sobriety over the last two years. During this hiatus, he talks about his regrets, including recent relationships that have crumbled. “In the process, I alienated friends and allies. Opportunities and security slipped through my fingers. Bridges were burned. Momentum screeched to a halt. I was scared”. That’s where Rap Album Two comes in, helping Jonwayne as a form of self-healing.

Going back to 2011 when he made his debut, Jonwayne established his creativeness and unique persona early on. He’s produced a 48-track instrumental album and released his first mixtapes in the form of cassettes which he eventually stopped stating they were “just about out of tapes anyway”. This quirky and strange style also translates into his music, which has worked well for the artist. For example, the second track on the album, “LIVE from The Fuck You”, starts out as a dialogue between Wayne and a man, asking him to rap for his girlfriend who’s a huge fan. Declining the man’s proposal at first, Wayne eventually succumbs to his persistence and breaks out into a rap verse starting the song. Another example of this is about halfway through, titled “The Single”. This short track begins like a typical rap song until halfway through he messes up, forcing him to restart. This process repeats itself for the duration of the song until Wayne decides to just stop, ending the track. Although these tracks don’t offer much for listeners, it is still amusing to hear as it shows just how creative Jonwayne can be with his music.

The best aspect to Rap Album Two is the instrumentals, which drive the emotional aspect to the album. Each track feels completely different from one another because of this, giving them their own identity rather than just easily forgetting about it 20 minutes later. “Out of Sight” sounds like something straight from a lullaby, and for those who listen to it without deciphering the lyrics may just think so. However, once you understand some of the lines Wayne is saying, such as, “On the way I know I gave away some friends / And every day I wish we could speak again”, you begin to understand some of the album’s darker meanings. This sharp contrast between instrumentals and lyrics complement each other beautifully and certainly helps reiterate the themes to this album. The same can be said for some of the other tracks, such as “Blue Green” and the album’s strong closer, “These Words Are Everything”. While the instrumentals do play role in building emotion, there are times where it also shuts it off. “Rainbow” utilizes 8-bit sounds to move this song forward, but instead feels like out-of-place filler. The same applies to the second to last track off the album, “Hills” which sounds like the equivalent of spamming a bunch of letters into a text-to-speech program and playing it back. Sure, it’s interesting, but unfortunately, it just doesn’t work and doesn’t work well with the album’s overall theme.

It’s incredible to think how far Jonwayne has come along in the last five years. With everything that he’s been through lately, it’s certainly great to see him back on his feet and ready to move forward. As seen with Rap Album Two, Wayne’s creativity is what sets him apart from every other rapper, and it’s clear that it’ll only go up from here.

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