MUSIC REVIEWS: FROM THE SLUM VILLAGE FAMILY, YOUNG RJ’S BLAQ ROYALTY SHINES THE LIGHT OF SOUL-HEAVY HIP-HOP

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Young RJ

“Blaq Royalty” (2017)

(Ne’Astra Music)

The thing about having any remote relationship to Dilla is the comparison will always be there. For Young RJ, his relationship is by proxy and mostly because he currently reps in the latest incarnation of Slum Village. With that said, RJ’s album stands solidly on its own.

Listening to songs like “Wait” and “It Ain’t Nothin,” Young RJ walks the fine line between street anthems and introspective grooves. To give it a reference, had RJ come out between 1999 and 2002, this album would’ve blown up.

The production on the album is pretty chill and RJ is savvy enough to put needed bass lines or subtle samples to help the songs pop a little bit more.

If you’re missing the Ummah era of hip-hop, Young RJ’s Blaq Royalty is the album for you. It simultaneously pays tribute to the time, while also making steps to advance it. It’s a breath of fresh air in a world of Soundcloud rappers.

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Ryan “Fresh” Pangilinan

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