Review by Phillip Waters
An artist’s music can seriously suffer from a lack of creativity and coherency. Hip-Hop legends like Jay Z and Eminem were panned for putting out The Blueprint 2 and Relapse, albums where these issues ran rampant. So one can only imagine the damage done to ‘up and coming’ rappers who stumble across the same potholes on their projects. Unfortunately, Tyrell Money J finds himself in this predicament. His latest album, Tyrell Money J and His Amazing Friends, has enough problems stemming from the aforementioned creativity/coherency department that it floats dangerously close to being a dud.
Tyrell Money J and His Amazing Friends has its moments. Tyrell, with his syrupy, husky voice, is best suited when tackling his personal life and social political topics. The best song, ‘Occupy Everything’ has hard hitting guitar riffs that back up thought provoking rhymes like “all we want is success/ that and nothing less/ government tryna fuck me/ I aint even undressed/ and I’m from this country, so I call that incest” and “I just passed my pastor, he in a new Mercedes…/got me paying tithes, and my net worth in the 20s/ and this building look the same/ what you doing with my money”. Tracks “Pt. 1 to My Nieces” and “Brainwashed (Pt. 2 to My Nephews)” work as accompanying pieces where Tyrell first addresses teenage pregnancies through a personal letter to his nieces. Then he speaks on crime in the inner city with his nephews as a vehicle to make it more heartfelt. And the party song “Friday” featuring Trinity and LX Cruze is fun and energetic with a relatable hook of “it’s Friday, I came to party/ gotta work tomorrow and I’m sorry…” This material works extremely well.
But the rest of the album drags in one way or another.
One of the more minor flaws is the confusion on what Tyrell Money J and His Amazing Friends is supposed to be precisely. Is it an official solo album collaboration album (hence the title and 6 of 14 songs having features), an EP, or a mixtape? He highlights the fact that he has original beats from the likes of Grassroots Production and others on the project’s Datpiff.com page, leaving me under the impression this is supposed to be an official release. But he raps over a Harry Fraud (NYC mainstream producer) instrumental on “Never Loved”, complete with the signature Harry Fraud tag and all. Then he uses Kanye West’s “Say You Will” beat for his “Poor Wretched Me”. Those small tidbits aren’t as much of a head scratcher as something like “Drake Song” is. Tyrell jacks Drizzy’s “Started From the Bottom” theme as he spits “started from the bottom/ sleeping on my cousin couch/ started from the bottom/ went to prison but now I’m out/started from the bottom/ moon pies for breakfast/ started from the bottom/ rob you and sell your necklace”. But on the hook, featured artist K. Boss Lady sings “bottles of that Rose/ naw this ain’t another Drake song/ so boy don’t keep me waiting/ cus I been waiting for you too long”. Three quarters of that hook sound very Drakeesque to me; The only part that doesn’t is “this ain’t another Drake song”. So is it a romance song. Or a song about struggle. Or a diss to Drake’s music (even though Drake’s music is incorporated all throughout). I’m lost.
It’s that kind of awkwardness that tarnishes some of the other half decent tracks on Tyrell Money J and His Amazing Friends. “Kaboom” has a beat that sounds like the menu page on a children’s video game, while Tyrell name drops cartoon characters Darkwing Duck, Jiggly Puff, and Speedy Gonzalez. On “Liquid Windows”, Tyrell opens up about his troubled relationship with his brother and father. It’s good stuff, but is ruined by him flowing offbeat to the piano keys the entire song. The biggest aggravation in the project are the mistakes Tyrell makes over and over again. Like his basic, redundant hooks. “Kaboom’s” hook just says “Kaboom/ out my way before I knock you down” eight times. “Stresses” goes “I got you hooking work/needing your rest/relieving your stress” in a bland repetitive order. “Never Loved”…”never loved/ I hope you never loved/ never loved/ I hope you never loved”.
See my point? Also, he uses singer K. Boss Lady on three of his tracks, and there’s no nice way to put it; she can’t sing. And the studio adjustments they try to make to her voice just makes it worse, though Tyrell gets points for catering to his female base. The last three songs – “Champagne Hennessy”, “Perfect”, and “Girlfriend/Boyfriend” are all ‘for the ladies joints’. But not one of them stands out or says anything significantly different from the others. This ends up turning them all into filler.
Tyrell Money J and His Amazing Friends isn’t the worst album of all time. But it has way more than enough flaws that Tyrell Money J needs to go back to the drawing board and figure out a better approach altogether for his next outing.