Album Review: Jay Rock’s 90059

by: E.McGee

At first sight its obvious that love is somewhere on the horizon, but to appreciate her true beauty one must explore everything she has to offer. Clad in lush vegetation, roaring mountains, infinite sunshine, beachside getaways and royal blue skies, Los Angeles reigns supreme as one of the most beautiful cities in the country. A city comprised of activism, entrepreneurs, teachers, lawyers, doctors, laborers and artists. A city where diversity is king and opportunity is boundless. A city by the sea where beauty is seemingly everything; however, with beauty being subjective many of the locals have quite a different story to tell about lovely Los Angeles.

jayrock81915-616x44090059 is the zip code for Watts, California (an underprivileged city within Los Angeles County positioned between Compton and South Central) and it’s also the album title for veteran T.D.E. recording artist Jay Rock. As a native of Watts, Jay Rock uses the zip code the take listeners on a ride through his neighborhood. While on this ride Jay Rock paints beautiful pictures with vibrant colors of pain, uncertainty, inspiration, success and ultimately growth. Since his last release of “Follow Me Home” in July 2011, the city has been anxiously awaiting the return of Jay Rock and its safe to safe that “90059” (released September 11, 2015) is just what the people needed.

Sonically this album sounds amazing and with a variety of vocal styles, rhythmic patterns, tonal inflections and just plain good ole rhymes, 90059 was a huge step in the right direction for Jay Rock. With production from Cardo, Soundwave, and Willie B (to name a few) Jay Rock’s 2nd studio release has shattered any thoughts of the sophomore blues. The opening track “Necessary” starts with a strong soul groove and eventually gets into Rock explaining what necessities he needs to survive in the zip code of 90059. “Telegram (Going Crazy)” is track where Rock decides to open up about his relationship. Describing ongoing questions stemming from insecurity, dealing with the pressures of the industry and ultimately deciding whether or not to let love lead the way. “Vice City”, the most talked about track on the album, features label mates Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar in which all of them speak about their vices. The album closes with a song entitled “The Message” but on this track Jay Rock leaves the listeners with a strong feeling of
hope. The messages of change, perseverance and respect are all seamlessly interwoven within the fabric of this song and it was a great way to end this album.

Its love at first sight for many people visiting the beautiful Los Angeles, California, and although 90210 gets the credit for being one of the premier zip codes in the county, 90059 is still very rich in beauty. With her colorful people who sing songs of prosperity and truth, her cracked roads that tell tales of hard work and perseverance, the mom and pop stores that service the community and
generate pride amongst the people and the undying sense of family embedded within all of her inhabitants. Watts is an amazing place and Jay Rock’s “90059” painted her picture beautifully.


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