(ALBUM REVIEW) Skyzoo – A Dream Deferred

Skyzoo – A Dream Deferred

Reviewed by StrongArm (Arman Mahmoudi)

First off I want to say that I am a big Skyzoo fan, i was thorougly impressed with Live from the Tapedeck and Salvation. So when i heard Black Milk, !llmind, 9th Wonder, DJ Khalil, Tall Black Guy and more produced on this album, i was already excited. Let’s explore the album, track by track. The album features Talib Kweli, Jill Scott, Freeway, Raheem Devaughn & more. Each Track is rated out of (*****) at end of commentary.

1. Dreams in a Basement feat. Jill Scott (prod. !llmind)

This is a really well-executed intro track. The hook, beat and Sky’s verses all compliment one another. This pretty much tells us that if this is an indicator of what is to come, this is going to be a great album. ****

2. Jansport Strings (One time for Chi-Ali) (prod. 9th Wonder)

This was the first leak I heard off the album. Hard hitting track, with a dope 9th Wonder beat, Skyzoo carries it well. Although the beat and hook can get a bit repetetive, this track is a dope recollection of his years growing up in Brooklyn. ***
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3. Pockets Full feat. Freeway (prod. !llmind)

This is a dope track, boasting about having that bankroll. Freeways verse fits the theme of the song, and both emcees do a good job capitilzing on this !llmind prodution, which at this point, 3 tracks deep, is definetely the dopest beat heard on the project yet. ***1/2

4. Give it Up feat. DJ Prince (prod. !llmind)

This beat is really dope, shows !llmind making a trap beat with some electronic influence. The only problem with this track is the hook sounds a bit repetetive. The beat alone is reason to bump it though, Skyzoo and DJ Prince go back and forth on the bars on the 2nd verse which was cool, though Prince definetely didn’t have as much to say as zoo’. ***

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5. Glass Ceilings (prod. !llmind)

This is a dope album cut. Skyzoo spits about his trials and tribulations in the game, and some of his problems trying to come up in the rap game. His starting bars on the 2nd verse were dope “Looking forward to when its all said, then it feels like when they killed cornbread, or Cochise, or volettas son, the common thread is prolly better if you never run…” This track is a good testament to Skyzoo’s ability to create an entertaining track yet still speak to you and use clever wordplay and punchlines. ****

6. Range Rover Rhythm (prod. Jahlil Beats)

Another solid Album cut, Skyzoo sounds more natural on this track, Glass Ceilings and Pockets Full, despite both Give it Up and Jansport Strings getting video treatment, I actually feel like these album cuts seem more fitting for him. He spits on this “Lanes open bigger, for that range rover rhythm, tryna open up the hood and put a name on that engine…”. This is one of the dopest tracks on the record so far. ****

7. The Knowing feat. Jessy Wilson (prod. Eric G)

This is another solid track. HIs content on this dope beat from Eric G of the Soul Council. The vocalists harmonizing throughout Sky’s verse was perfect, and really set the mood, the hook is also very dope and Jessy Wilson does well to compliment Skyzoo and not over do it. ***1/2

8. Drew & Derwin Feat. Raheem Devaughn (prod. Focus)

This is a very typical track. Its not bad by any means, but seems like another default verse, r & b hook, verse , R & b hook track. Its definetely conventional. But still gets some replay value because the beat is solid, and Raheem does his thang. ***

9. Realization feat. Jared Evan (prod. DJ Khalil)

This is a dope track, it pretty much the most mainstream sounding track, with a very dope DJ Khalil beat, and somewhat crossover hook from Jared Evan. Skyzoo spits “Seated in a dream, but playing musical chairs, they seein who u be, just gave proof to me there” and  “Still I’m down, for whatever b, always say I’ll stay awake, if i have a drink”. ***

10. The Rage of Roemello (prod. DJ Khalil)

This is another dope album cut, with a solid beat from DJ Khalil. Skyzoo spits about some dope shit, as he talks about the struggle and emotions one faces. Hes basically talking about overcoming obstacles, and still making it in a rap game, filled with a lot of metaphors in these bars. This track succeeds, because the hook is catchy despite being redundant, because he is saying something. ****

11. How to make it through Hysteria (prod. Best Kept Secret)

This track talks about exactly what said in the title, basicaly making it through rough times and from a rough past. The beat is dope, and overall Skyzoo creates a good message-themed song on this one. The spoken word at the end is fitting as well ***1/2

12. Steel’s Apartment (prod. Black Milk)

This is one of the tracks that was definetely filler in my eyes. Its not bad by any means, but hes got similar hooks, and concepts on this album that are executed better, and although produced by Black Milk, the beat doesn’t stand out among the other productions on this album. **1/2

13. Spike Lee was my hero feat. Talib Kweli (prod. Tall Black Guy)

This is one of the highlights of a pretty solid album. This track is really dope in every aspect, the beat is solid, and the hook is dope. Even tho he uses a simialr technique that annoyed me on some previous hooks, repeating the same line three times in a row, but in this one it compliments the beat and vibe of the track. Tall Black Guy’s production has a jazz band feel, and works well for these two emcees. Talib rips it , “Birthplace of Jordan, you was warm if you was hard enough, fuckin wit nikes, why you think the spikes so popular…” Good to see Talib still hungry on features.   ***1/2

14. Cost of Sleep (prod. Tall Black Guy)

This is another track where i thought redundancy hurt the hook. The beat is dope and verses are on point, and its a good way to end the album on a introspective tip. Skyzoo spits , “So pay me now, pay me later, and for yesterday, might not a little, but i was never late, hurry up and buy, like you aint never late, you lay down or you levitate”. ***

 

Favorite tracks: Dreams in a basement, Glass Ceilings, Range Rover Rhythm, The Rage of Roemello, & Spike Lee was my hero.

Overall Rating: ***1/5 / 5 (3.5 /5)

I would definetely recommend this album, its one of those projects you can listen to all the way through, and it has replay value, because of the chill nature of the project, as well as solid song structure and hooks that were used.

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