If you’re familiar with the Bay Area music scene as of right now (which I would hope you are, considering your reading this album review on San Jose State’s radio website) then you have definitely heard the name Larry June. Hailing from Hunter’s Point, the 32 year-old rapper is a seasoned veteran- he’s been dropping multiple albums each year stemming back to 2018. Recently he has collaborated with other high profile artists, while continuing to diversify his sound.
Seeing Uncle Larry go down this avenue is a welcome surprise. Prior to 2021, June’s music had more of a hyphy, melodic type feel to it. Since then, his approach has seemed to change, taking on a more elevated and sophisticated tone. I nearly had to do a double take after seeing his name featured on Hitler Wears Hermes 8- his guest verse had me excited to see where he was going to take things. His verses on ‘Endurance Runners’ (2021) (also produced by The Alchemist) and 2000 (2023) further solidified his approach moving forward. On The Great Escape, He fully leaned into this sound- and in this lane, there’s no one you’d rather have in your passenger seat than The Alchemist.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”
If there’s one thing that Uncle Larry has perfected, it’s the art of staying in his own lane. June’s unproblematic nature is reflected in his tone and lyrics. His soothing delivery and calm flow give off an almost effortless feel. June’s lyrics aren’t braggadocious, nor will they make you feel bad about not having as much money as him. Instead, he focuses on uplifting and inspiring listeners to chase their goals, whether that be starting the keto diet they’ve been meaning to, or investing in their 401K’s. That’s the intention behind June’s music- to set a bar or standard for his listener to reach.
At first glance, one may be skeptical of the album based on its features (Big Sean, Ty Dolla $ign, and Wiz Khalifa, just to name a few). But all of them, especially Big Sean, seem to have taken a page out of June’s playbook in regards to staying true to what they know. Their contributions fit perfectly into the overall goal of the album. After all, it’s hard to mess up when The Alchemist is the one laying down your tracks. Perhaps the best feature and maybe the best verse overall on the album comes from Boldy James off ‘Art Talk’. The grittier undertones of the beat fit perfectly with Boldy’s slightly more aggressive approach.
Overall, this is a fine album, and a delightful listen, perfect for the summer months ahead. This album serves as the perfect soundtrack for a summer cruise down the 101 or perhaps a Yacht trip, if your funds allow. To me, this is June’s most complete work to date. It’s hard to name an album from his discography that nearly touches The Great Escape. Granted, it is by no means a perfect project, but it is one that definitely takes way more work to hate than to love.
Good Job Larry!
Miles’ final rating: 4.25/5
Written by Miles Gose Tolosa