You need life changing music then look no further then Compton’s very own, Buddy. The latest in a long line of great rappers to come from the Hub City, the emcee and singer/songwriter proves on his debut album, Harlan & Alondra, that he is more than just a rapper. As he delivers a soulfully inspiring masterpiece that shows not only his great ear and lyrics, but ability to be fully relatable to his audience.
When you hear the opening lyrics of, “I remember when, I remember when I was just a kid. I was just a kid trying to get big. Now I’m getting big. Getting real big. Play another gig. Dropping new shit, a bunch of bulls**t. Problems still exist. Damn trying to still figure out how to live without. Gotta shake it off,” on opening track, Real Life S**t, and the very real life relatable lyrics most everybody whether young, old, rich or poor can relate to of going through the struggles and hardships to get where they are or still trying to be, you know you are in for something special. Going through that constant struggle and humble beginnings many other young hungry artists have gone through, Buddy shows that it isn’t something to be shameful of and that you can help embrace to get to a better place. Which is why it’s so perfect that it segues so seamlessly into the very smooth and funky, yet catchy, Shameless. A very amazing Mike & Keys, as well as Jake One-produced track, which sees Buddy really going in on his raps and giving quite possibly his best performance on the whole album. It’s also one of several tracks throughout the 12-track album, which really shows off both his stellar rhyming and hook singing as well. An advantage to him as well. As he only needs five features cause of it.
Almost like a veteran and not somebody on their first album, Buddy knows how to properly use his features too. Whether it be A$AP Ferg on the very pro-Black anthem, Black, produced by Jahaan Sweet or the very perfectly placed Ty Dolla $ign hook on the very smooth and feel-good single, Hey There, or even the trademark smooth flow and humorously entertaining guest raps from Westcoast and Hip-Hop legend, as well as icon, Snoop Dogg, on, The Blue. The latter a very vibrant Roofeeo, Brody Brown, as well as Mike & Keys-produced track that also has great co-production and vocoder work from the great, Terrace Martin.
Like another fellow Los Angeles-rooted emcee, Nipsey Hu$$le, did for a majority of his own debut album, Victory Lap, released earlier this year, the great production duo of Mike & Keys handle a bulk of the production on, Harlan & Alondra. The duo along with producers Brody Brown and Roofeeo producing together or separately on all but two tracks and providing the perfectly soulful inspiring soundscape throughout the album for Buddy’s inspiringly and motivational real lyrics and songwriting. Which you can use to get through your own tough real life shit or just as motivation to get to your own real life aspirations and goals.
The funky sounds on a lot of the production throughout the album is what really truly makes it a great album too. Whether it be the more mellow and soulfully funky 90’s R&B type vibes of the standout Scoop DeVille and Roofeeo-produced single, Trouble On Central or funky smooth drums on the Outkast-sampled, Young. Another real standout that if not the best record on the album, easily one of the top two or three is the very emotional, Speechless. A real life honest record that finds Buddy over the real drawled bassline, deliberate piano keys and stutter-step drums of the Mike & Keys, Roofeeo and Brody Brown production giving real honest lyrics about a woman he meet that left him speechless.
As the album gets to the latter quarter of or so tracks, Buddy, continues to give us very stellar great lyrics, rapping, songwriting and hooks that show he’s ready for the championship rounds of becoming a champion emcee, songwriter and artist, who can’t be boxed into just one genre. The very trippy and spacey, Trippin’ featuring Khalid along with, Young and closing track, Shine, being perfect examples of this. With Trippin’ having such great quotables as, “Put the tab on your tongue. Let it dissolve and you got something to share you can get involved. Listen to Grateful Dead and I’m trippin’ balls. Hop in that UFO and I lift off.” Buddy’s very first single and closing track, Shine, is a very motivational record, which is the perfect choice to close out the album. As it shows off his great rapping, songwriting and singing all on one track, as he talks about his relationship with God and how it has helped him shine with all his abilities to get to where he is on his comeup as one of the future greats.
Having that soulfully nostalgic and relatable motivational sound that everybody, young and old can relate to, Buddy shows that his music truly is timeless. Delivering such a timeless masterpiece that’s not only one of the best Hip-Hop albums, but across any genre of music in 2018. Buddy continues to show what great talent there’s in the L.A. area and why his album could be on a lot of year-end lists of great albums once we get to the end of 2018. Rest assured you will hear a lot more about Buddy shining in Hip-Hop and beyond this year too.