/// Jonwayne ///
Jonwayne has always been a master craftsman and talented technician, but in the past, his raps didn’t really have any function. It was rapping for the sake of it. He had plenty of knotty, syllable-twisting wordplay pivoting on slant rhymes and internal schemes, but much of the content was filler. His full-length debut as a lyricist, Rap Album One, was bogged down by his inability to get out of his own head, rattling off series after series of pointless puzzlers and long-winded (albeit fun) workarounds for rap cliches aiming to show how clever he was. Instilled with purpose, Rap Album Two weighs every sentence carefully. He isn’t interested in constructing complex lyrical miracle word exhibitions. He’s too busy wondering if rap is even worth it.
Much of Rap Album Two is about rap as both an instrument of destruction and a vehicle for redemption. It finds Jonwayne navigating his own downward spiral, seeking the answer to his most important question: What do you do when rap is both your living and a fuel for your vices? His writing, which was once so heady, is now sobering. He’s rapping more deliberately, and the bars all mean more, carrying bigger burdens but bringing bigger rewards. There’s literally a song called “These Words Are Everything.” Songs like the existentialist daydream “Human Condition” and the punching “City Lights” explore the consequences of addiction, especially when pursuing a rap career (“There’s a price to it youngin’/You most likely don’t invite the kind of vices we brung in/Be it poison of the body or the kind you can’t see ‘cause it’s creeping up behind”). The album uses a beatpack with snappy, slow-rolling drums, minor piano chords, soul hymnals, and sunless tones to depict an ongoing recalibration, as Jonwayne finds his way back to rap.
$12 at the curtain
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