Joey Purp certainly knows how to make a grand entrance. The Chicago emcee kicks off his debut album, QUARTERTHING, by bursting right into the forefront as the man of the hour, with the crashing drums and majestic keys from Nate Fox and Peter Wilkins on the Thelonious Martin-produced, 24K Gold/Sanctified, perfectly setting the grand occasion that his album is not only for him, but the very thriving right now Chicago Hip-Hop scene. The passion that Joey puts in the lyrics/chorus break of, “We still alive y’all, I’m still alive y’all, I’m still alive, yeah” really hitting home for so many growing up in the improvised areas of Chicago, Joey and so many others grew up in.
An album that was well worth the wait, Joey makes sure to show from the very beginning of the album to the end what great musical talent there is here in our hometown of Chicago. Whether it be showing off the very soulfully amazing church like vocals of Ravyn Lenae and Jack Red to close out 24K Gold/Sanctified or having fellow upcoming Chicago emcee, Queen Key giving a very stellar guest verse on, Diamonds Dancing or even Fox, Nico Segal and Wilkins, who co-executive produced the album, really helping him put together such a great soundscape and versatile formula for such a stellar album. With production from everyone from the soulful sounds of DJ Khalil to the banger formula from fellow Chicago natives Nez & Rio, the exquisite production from Knox Fortune, Martin and more really helping Purp convincingly show off all of his styles and flows in a way that’s not forced and as sharp as ever.
Whether it be the exquisite and cinematic big sounds of the RZA-featured, Godbody Pt. 2 or very triumphant horns on the Segal & Wilkins-produced, Hallelujah, the Chicago emcee really owns in on the lyrical onslaught and high-energy he brings to the first few tracks. That along with the very infectious, Nez & Rio-produced banger and single, Elastic, easily among the best four track sequences you will ever hear to open an album. While the classic Juke beat provided by Fortune and DJ Taye on, Aw Sh*t!, shows Purp’s great versatility and is likely to be played at many juke/house parties.
As the first half of the album comes to a close, the title track, which is easily one of the best on the album too, finds Purp rapping about how before rap his Dad and brother taught him how to run the dope game like how he now runs his career in the rap game. Perfectly seguing into the rebellious hard-hitting Garren Langford and Smoko Ono-produced, Paint Thinner, Purp once again shows his great versatility. As he shreds the track to pieces with his rapid-fire flow. Even the Ono-produced, Look at My Wrist featuring fellow Chicago native, Cdot Honcho, finds the Chicago emcee bragging about generic themes of bravado during his comeup, only to mock their importance. Poking fun at them with the hook of, “Like damn look at my wrist dog, damn look at my b**ch dog. Damn I be getting fits off, damn look at my rims dog. Damn look at my whip dog, look at all this fvck sh*t.”
QUARTERTHING isn’t all big themed or only club sounding too. As more refined and restrained cuts like the dreamy and mellow Knox Fortune-produced, 2012, that normally wouldn’t fit on an album like this, are still able to. To the point it actually does without compromising the sound or cohesiveness of the album. Only really on, the Queen Key featured, Fessional/Diamonds Dancing and Future sounding, Karl Malone, do any of the records sound out-of-place. With Keys stellar feature on Diamonds Dancing the only thing that saves an otherwise very underwhelming track.
Overall, QUARTERTHING, is a very solid album though that shows Purp knows what his strengths in emceeing are and how to highlight them. With several gems and a very captivatingly undeniable replay value that truly captures the listener’s ears, the Chicago native shows he’s only a few steps from delivering an undeniably classic album that many expect from the very talented emcee.