Jay Royale – “The Baltimore Housing Project” (Album Review)

This is the highly anticipated sophomore album from Baltimore emcee Jay Royale, who came onto my radar not too long ago with the release of his 2018 full-length debut The Ivory Stoop. But after a couple of big features on Vinnie Paz & Daniel Son’s latest albums, he’s back on his own for The Baltimore Housing Project.

The intro is pretty much Jay setting the tone for the whole album on top of a minimal yet punchy beat whereas the next song “Thousand Gram Figero” with Skyzoo sees the 2 coming with the battle bars over an old school boom bap beat. “The Town” pretty much describes the city that he grew up on over a foreboding instrumental while the track “Skee Rack” with Ransom goes at people who doubted them over a hypnotic beat.

The song “Pearl Handle” with Ill Conscious finds both of them talking about being strapped over a beat with a grim guitar passage while the track “Tint Cruddy” with Termanology sees the 2 talking about making it over an instrumental with a heavenly loop. The song “Hate to Love It” talks about his validity over an orchestral beat while the track “Lime” with Willie the Kid talks about how no one can compete with them over a piano & some heavy drums.

The song “Levaz” talks about pushing drugs over a boom bap beat with a luxurious piano loop while the track “Reefer Clouds” paints some dark street imagery over an instrumental with a plucky guitar loop. The song “Charles S. Dutton” gets back with Ill Conscious to reminisce on their childhoods over a flute-tinged instrumental while the penultimate track “Unreasonable Doubted” talks about people doing shit behind his back over a shadowy instrumental. The outro starts off with Jay talking about trying to bring back those classic Nas/AZ vibes on top of a Murphy beat, but then transitions into a decent “Unreasonably Doubted” remix.

If you liked his verse on “Scorched Earth”, you’d definitely enjoy this album because it’s probably the man’s best work yet if you ask me. The production is a lot more grimier than The Ivory Stoop was & Jay Royale does a great job at taking the listener through the experiences he had in his hometown.

Score: 8/10



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