Jay Rock got a record deal. He’s on Interscope. But that seems to have made him better, not worse.

“You ain’t me, nigga, knock it off,” Rock says, early on the album. Yeah, but he’s still into guest stars. Kendrick is here. So is J. Cole, Jeremih, SZA, Future, and a bunch of other names you’ll recognize. And of course, there’s this Black Panther posse cut.

But all the guest spots add to the album, rather than push the sales. Jay Rock doesn’t need them, he simply enjoys them. I mean, how can a guy who can drop bars like this NOT be one of your favorites: “Magic in a dope spot, four chickens, that’s Popeyes/More spinach, that’s Popeye/Four women sippin’ Mai Tais/I’m a cold nigga, free my guys/Free PI/Free Puta May/Free shooter Ray/From the foul line/We gonna get money or die tryin.”

Rock is still the star. In fact, the album is really about him. And just him. Surviving in his hood, trying to avoid crime, lamenting lost friends–yeah, this is a definite Compton album. The themes are all here. But there’s nothing wrong with familiarity, as long as you can put your own prints on it. And Jay does–his lyricism is agile and smart, the beats are consistently fresh–a really solid album, and a worthy addition to Rock’s already impressive catalog.

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