F.Y.I. – eLAyayvate
Released: 27 June 2022
eLAyayvate – F.Y.I.’s dry, almost raspy voice sounds great contrasted against the rolling bass on this title-track intro. As seen previously on Bounze House, F.Y.I. displays good control of words, and overall – good breath control. These are tell-tale signs of a natural rapper.
I really like piano that creeps in around the 1:00 minute mark. Between the 90s Horns, soul sample, bass, and piano…this is a really nice combination of sounds. The Clippers/choke bar towards the end provides some humorous LA banter. And the 50 Cent/Nipsey record scratch at the end by DJ Cee Brown is a great way to end the record. ★★★1/2 – ★★★★
Rah Rah – F.Y.I begins verse one by interpolating Kanye West‘s “Tribe Called Quest/ Guy called West” couplet from Last Call, but puts his own touches on it. Rah Rah sports a dark, menacing beat. The bass here is beating again like on track 1, but in a much more menacing manner. The chimes are a bit eerie. And the production shines once again, while F.Y.I lays some solid bar-work (and a few lyrical jabs): “A sniper with a sawed-off/ Blastin at Hip-Hop til Akademiks limbs gnawed-off/ The blog Tylenol PM it made me nod off/”.. “Top shotter, buckin’ at the game like Giannis” “Niggas stuck in 02 like Oxygen” (we love bars influenced by the Periodic Table of Elements!)★★★1/2
There’s Something in the Pacific: This beat sounds like it could be from Kendrick Lamar’s TPAB sessions due to the combination of Funk and Hip-Hop – specifically “Wesley’s Theory“. One of my favorites on this EP simply because it’s easy-listening. ★★★★
Not Too Late Not Too Soon: I feel like F.Y.I and his producer flirted with Jazz a bit earlier on this EP, but without fully committing to it. Specifically – certain bass-lines and piano-instances that appear earlier in the EP feel like they were dipping their toes into Jazz-influenced Hip-Hop.
On this song though, they nearly fully commit to Jazz Hip-Hop with a saxophone that appears in the chorus… Or is it actually a saxophone? There’s a vocalist on this record that sounds like he could be using his voice as an instrument – and that alone contributes greatly to the Jazz-feel. But I could be mistaking his vocal effect and voice-manipulation for actual instruments (a sax). I listened to this song numerous times back-to-back to determine whether or not there are actual live instruments that appear, or if it’s just the vocalist humming and groaning along to create the sound of an instrument. Either way – it’s creative and impressive how the voice is bending in a way that distorts sound.
But back to my Jazz/Hip-hop comments – this song would benefit greatly from fully committing to it’s Jazz influence by incorporation live instrumentation – saxophone, a real pianist/piano solo, guitar etc.. to take song to next level. The song almost does this … in fact, it feels like the song wants to do this. But there’s no full commitment to do it – only partial commitment. ★★★1/2
Problems Are Solutions: My favorite song on the EP! This reminds me of Blu & Exile‘s “Below the Heavens“. The heavy, pronounced drums backed by a soul sample (I actually recognize this sample, but won’t sample-snitch here lol) sounds just like Exile on BTH. And the uplifting, yet introspective verses is reminiscent of Blu on BTH. I’m not sure what type of demand that uplifting Soul-influenced Hip-Hop music has in 2022, but F.Y.I. is good at it. The ability to spill real-world problems over uplifting and inspiring beats is what made Below the Heavens so awesome. ★★★★
★★★1/2:-★★★★: This receives the same rating that Bounze House received, but it’s actually a better and more memorable project and an overall improvement in both production and lyrical ability. F.Y.I is on the border of making a 4★+ project.
“I’m in crisis bc my life is Christ-less”
“Them typecast bougie counselors talk down to me and type fast“.
“She couldn’t see my change, only viewed me as Pennywise“.
“Not tryna slay a man like i’m Prancer, For the fam I’ll turn this 66 Impala into an antler“
★★★★★: Best in show; pinnacle release from an all-time great artist.
★★★★1/2: Stellar example of genre; peak potential.
★★★★: Excellent; recommended to all fans of artist or genre.
★★★1/2: Very good; a few bland songs or minor flaws throughout.
★★★: Good; fans of the artist will find value here.
★★1/2: Average; does little to establish the artist or maintain quality.
★★: Unexceptional; a few highlights but otherwise bland.
★1/2: Weak; unrecommended for anyone but major fans of the style and/or artist.
★: Seriously flawed; very poor work but relatively listenable.
1/2: Terrible; a true embarrassment and akin to audio masochism.