Raury is Atlanta’s latest Hip Hop
weirdo. Because even in a scene dominated by the likes of Gucci Mane, Wacka
Flocka, Migos, and Rich Homie Quan, there’s room for Andre 3000, Father and
Childish Gambino to thrive.
19 year old Raury brings his A-Game
for major label debut, All We Need,
but there are too few pleasant surprises. All
We Need feels like a mere continuation of his Indigo Child EP, which,
although great, came out an entire year ago.
There are big name features this
time around, however. The RZA makes an emotional appearance on “CPU”, a song
that’s almost great. Southern royalty Big K.R.I.T. shows up to drop a pointed
verse on “Forbidden Knowledge”, an album highlight.
Raury’s eclectic brand of hip hop
blends rap with folk, spitfire verses with acoustic riffs. It’s a fascinating
take, but one that he hasn’t been fully realized yet. Some songs have fire raps,
but are marred by singing that’s just a little off. This is most blatant on
songs like “Revolution” and “CPU”.
“Devil’s Whisper” is the most
fully realized song on the album, a song where Raury does his thing and does it
well. Its soulful, upbeat tempo will have feet stomping and heads nodding.
“I could be Juicy J,” Raury raps. But
he won’t, because his heart “burns in the fire of the truth.”
Raury wants to make music that has
a positive influence on his generation. He expanded on that in an interview
with Teen Vogue, “With this album I just want to show the kids to find
themselves in love. That’s why I called it All
We Need because that’s really all we need…to stand up for each other and
the future and just make a better society.”
“I’m not trying to be a preacher,”
Raury says, but that doesn’t stop him from casting a critical eye on the
world’s bullshit. His lyrics, although sometimes overly dystopian, ring with
poignancy: “The insipid motherfucker called ‘humanity’/Raping and damaging
everything in its way” and “We slaughter for profit, our sons know no father/The
ozone the word that is no longer brought up” are just two scathing zingers off
of magnificent title song ‘All We Need,’ where Raury likens our earth to a
“Crystal Express” is the album’s
peak, an energetic, ceaselessly cheerful song that celebrates finding peace. “Life is in the moment/And life is incoherent,”
Raury sings. Indeed.
Other highlights are “Woodcrest
Manor II”, “Friends”, and “Peace Prevail”. “Friends” especially, because it’s
one of the songs on this album where Raury succeeds in his psychedelic
strivings. Title song “All We Need” succeeds most in the psychedelic regard,
opening with an escalating drone that fades into an extra-terrestrial guitar
riff. The beat switch during K.R.I.T.’s verse on “Forbidden Knowledge” is
another great moment.
We Need is a strong debut album from Raury. He’s got a good deal of
potential and his future looks bright. Check this album out, get familiar with
the man who might be a household name someday soon. He does have a major label
deal after all.