Kennedy explodes out of the gate on opening track ‘Woke,’ backed by a triumphant, bombastic brass-filled instrumental that’s reminiscent of something from Watch the Throne. At the top of his 2021 return to the game, Kennedy takes shots at mumble rappers, podcasters, Lil Pump, head-nodders, and bloggers (ahem). Sure, those are a lot of targets, but Kennedy delivers these lines with such ferocity and conviction that I’m inclined to believe he could actually rise above all every one of them (besides this blogger, (hopefully)).
Another highlight for me is actually the second track “Pain” with great features from fellow Detroit native Elzhi and the legendary Method Man. The Method Man feature should come to no surprise as over the course of Kennedy’s long rap career–which started when he was 7–he’s opened for huge artists like Biggie, Ice Cube, and of course Method Man.
All three of them absolutely body their verses, as expected, and we get a little Wu shoutout during Method Man’s verse. This track really stands out for a lot of reasons, namely it’s one of the only tracks that is full-out braggadocio coming from Kennedy, besides the opener of course.
Most of the album focuses on black empowerment, the Black Lives Matter movement, and anti-police statements from Kennedy and collaborators alike. It’s clear from lyrics on tracks like “Fear” and “Safe” that Kennedy has real, personal experience with police brutality and intends on making his frustrations known to everyone that listens. It’s these kind of right-in-your-face, matter-of-fact bars Kennedy brings that are so often lacking from other rapper/actor projects.
Kennedy has been showing us both sides of his career, rapper and actor, for 15+ years now and it seems his albums just keep getting better. This was raw, real, and to the point.
Now, excuse me while I dust off my Blue Mountain State DVDs and comb through the rest of this discography.
Highlights: Fear, Safe, Setup
Hidden Gem: Arielle