War. Revolution. Peace, Love and Happiness. All of these things and more encompass the message that one of Atlanta’s brightest rising stars, Raury, is putting out with every audible he produces.
At this point, we know the “Indigo Child” for his youthful, revolutionary war-cry, “God’s Whisper”. We know him for Andre 3000 comparisons, sun hats and energetic live performances. But with his debut album hitting the shelves last week, fans and new listeners get a solid one-on-one view of who he is and what he stands for. I had the opportunity to experience the album during the week of A3C when LoveRenaissance hosted a silent listening at a local art exhibit. The bottom floor of the album held paintings dedicated to each track of the album (crafted by Sage Guillory) as the upper level featured photos from the last year with Raury (captured by Van Nguyen). So, let’s get in to the review.
All We Need sums itself as the brilliant continuation of its predecessor, Indigo Child. The album begins in a way that leads you to think it’s going one direction and then suddenly changes in to something refreshing. “All We Need” is Beattle-esque ballad that opens the album to the message that Raury has stood on since he exploded on the internet.
“All we need is love.”
We get the singing side of Raury first in his folk-influenced manner but don’t stress hip-hop heads, there’s something for you too. “Revolution” picks up the pace and intensity quickly, but does not negate the message of the first song. It actually serves as a balance that will be present throughout the album.
Raury placed his few features strategically and one of the most notable of the crew included Big K.R.I.T. on “Forbidden Knowledge”. The third track of the album is a gem for hip-hop and if you close your eyes and listen close enough you’ll hear the spirit of Outkast. This will likely be a favorite for many in the long-run.
Kicking wisdom isn’t always on the mind of the young man as he too battles through relationships (“Woodcrest Manor II” continued part one’s story from Indigo Child, “Love Is Not A Four Letter Word” and “Her”), emotions (“CPU” featuring RZA) and temptations (“Devil’s Whisper).
The first two tracks touch on love and revolution as “Peace Prevails” falls in the center of it all at number seven. Our guitar-welding rhymer blends his Woodstock-like tunes with his rapping ability to give one of more introspective tracks on the album. After battling with the temptation on “Devil’s Whisper”, peace prevails as a result of the victory.
If you follow the interviews, you’ll know that Raury believes in the power of crystals and gemstones. Look it up in your free time but the eighth track, “Crystal Express, which is also the name of his upcoming tour describes the soothing power of keeping a few on hand. All aboard!
One of my favorite tracks anchors the latter half of the album. Raury doesn’t create the drug-influenced, trap music that Atlanta is known for but that doesn’t mean he has been touched by the same situations. Atlanta’s own Key! features on “Trap Tears” in the most subtle but needed way on this album–besides Adia on “All We Need”. Raury tells the story of pain and sorrow over a snare-infected guitar line with a hook reminiscent of Nicki Minaj’s “Beez in the Trap”.
Reflective of his positive image, we end the album on a light-hearted note. “Mama” is an ode to the voice of reason (her’s more than Raury’s) from the skits on Indigo Child. “Kingdom Come” is lyrically one of the darkest tracks but sonically one of the lighter, which comes to me as his take on MJ’s “They Don’t Really Care About Us”. The final note for all is the uplifting “Friends” featuring Tom Morello. If theirs anything to take away from All We Need, it is the message in the chorus.
“And we, and we, belong
At peace, at peace, we are
This album reminds me of “Earth Song”, “Heal The World”, Abbey Road, The Love Below and Indigo Child all in one. Raury created a solid commercial introduction on the platform of his message of peace, love and revolution. The genre-bender that is Raury sculpted an album full of revolution, and love and there’s no debate that the artist is multi-dimensional. The album is good, as expected, but it isn’t as groundbreaking as I expected it to be. I can’t put a finger on what’s missing to give it that edge but what I would like to see, or hear rather, is Raury rapping with more conviction and confidence.
I’d give the album an 7.5 on a 1-10 scale. Give the album a listen and form your own opinion. Support good music.
Click the image to hear the album.
Malay and Raury co-produced the entire album.
The Crystal Express Tour runs from Oct. 29-Nov. 25.