Royce’s last album, Book of Ryan, was an introspective confessional. The Allegory is more of a jam session–an album that came about while Royce was behind the boards for other artists, gradually coming together. There’s lots of features–from Vince Staples, Westside Gunn, Benny The Butcher, CyHI The Prynce, T.I., and others. As a result, it can seem a bit overstuffed. But Royce is a lyricist and a groundbreaker, so it’s never boring. Experimental tracks like “Pendulum” are interesting enough for repeat listens and “Upside Down” is a keeper, even if nothing here hits quite as hard as Book of Ryan. But I am quite certain that Royce is the first rapper in history to base an album on Plato’s The Cave. And that definitely earns him something. Particularly “Dope Man,” a soul-infused cut about life on the streets that harkens directly to Plato’s writing–if you know to look for it.
Overall, the album is a lot slower than what I expected. But Royce has been a partner to Eminem, a member of the Slaughtahouse supergroup, and a ghost writer for Dr. Dre. He is one of the greatest and most influential MCs ever to hold a mic, and is always worth listening to.
Elkhorn’s Storm Sessions is a quiet, Americana Jazz collection that, as I understand it, is a collection of outtakes. This record should not be missed–it’s astoundingly good, and powerfully understated. Here’s a couple of tunes from the album.
Other solid new records include the new heavy psych album by Lowrider, which also has some amazing instrumental tracks. A very muscular album worth checking out.
Also, Vices by Peggy Sue is a nicely written collection of smooth pop songs.