I’m back in this bitch! *Jay Rock voice*. Okay so this time I’m checking out the new album from the young lad Raury. Basically the best way to describe his music is to say… think if a teenage version of Andre 3000 replaced Robin Pecknold as the lead singer of Fleet Foxes. Sounds interesting right? He fuses indie folk and Hip-Hop, two pretty opposite genres, into one. He caught buzz last year off his mixtape Indigo Child, had a feature on the new Joey Bada$$ album that dropped earlier this year, and he was even a member of the new XXL Frehsmen class this year. Alongside this buzz, Raury decides to grace us with his debut album titled All We Need. Let’s dive in.

All We Need

1. All We Need
Featuring Adia; Produced by Raury
Okay so I’m not sure what’s going on with the first minute of this track, but it sounds like that old THX intro that played at the beginning of your old VHS tapes back in the day. Shits weird. But the track as a whole is actually pretty nice. Reminds me a bit of something I might hear from Fleet Foxes. The message of the track is pretty loving too, being that he’s basically saying love can save the world, because all we need is love. I don’t think the track is super extravagant, but I like it. It’s a nice chill start to the album. It’s feels like a prologue or the opening credits to some coming of age indie film.

2. Revolution
Produced by Raury
Track kicks off and Raury is strumming the shit out of that acoustic. Dude is jamming. Track kind of reminds of his other track “God’s Whisper”. Both tracks are pretty ambitious, but this one in particular I like way more, especially the latter half of this track. Raury starts rapping in this spoken word style and it’s actually really nice. I’m liking this so far.

3. Forbidden Knowledge
Featuring Big K.R.I.T.; Produced by Malay
Good lord. Love this track. The production is tight and Raury’s verses are really good. The subject matter is and the way he goes about it feels a lot more mature than what you’d expect to hear:

Forbidden knowledge can destroy mankind
We can grow out of control like cancer under the skin of Mother Nature
Busy cities much alike to a tumor
Too many cells, the residents, the body’s polluter

I also love that bass line that comes in on the chorus of this track. Another highlight for me on this track is when the acoustics come in for Raury’s second verse and with him singing and harmonizing and everything in the background.

We manifested reality based on are personality

Quotables. And to add icing on the cake, coming down from Mount Olympus himself…BIG K.R.I.T.! Krit blesses this track with a pretty beautiful verse that closes this track nicely.

Brother look, you don’t need to go to jail just to read you a book
I wonder what Malcolm found after going to Mecca
Or the mind state of Martin after visiting Selma
Two leaders that were slain for speaking the topic on the schemers and the reapers of forbidden knowledge

Kind of gave me a bit of Outkast vibes. Great track. Love it. Definitely a highlight.

4. Woodcrest Manor II
Produced by Raury
First thing I thought of when I saw the word “Woodcrest” was The Boondocks, but anyways, this is a sequel track to one of his songs off his previous project. Didn’t really care for it, but this new track here is actually really nice. Has some 80’s rock feels to it. Subject wise, this track is Raury reminiscing on the “good times”, looking back on how things used to be and how things have developed. I was never really that big on Raury’s singing on tracks, but I think it goes over well here. Hook is nice too. Overall, a pretty nice and chill track. I like it a lot.

5. CPU
Featuring RZA; Produced by Raury
I dig the effect he’s going for here with the sort of computer voice effect basically correlating to the track title and all. The vibe of the track kinda reminds me of something I’d hear off 808’s & Heartbreak. The RZA verse is pretty nice too. Nice to see him lending support to some of the newer artist out here. It’s a pretty nice track, not one of my favorites or anything, but the production one again is solid. Could’ve done without that lumberjack line though.

6. Devil’s Whisper
Produced by Raury
The first single released from this album and a flip side to the track “God’s Whisper” off his previous project. The way this track goes, as far as subject matter, reminds me a bit of what I heard off of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly earlier this year. It deals with how the devil basically will make you all these promises if you give into him, or rather conform to what’s around you. Basically like selling your soul to the devil or evil for greedy reasons. Temptations. As far as production goes, it’s mostly acoustic except for the last half off the track. Raury gives a pretty solid verse to close this track off too. I can’t really say I dig this track all the way though. It personally doesn’t excite me, or rather it just isn’t as exciting as the tracks that came before it. Still, not a bad track.

7. Peace Prevail
I really like this track. The production is so calming and smooth and Raury delivers some nice lines. I especially like the second verse:

Death got you by the scythe, my nigga
Sheist, my nigga, world’s full of sheisty niggas
Icy niggas, black, white, hypebeast niggas
If I ever had a check for each and every single time a nigga at the finish line, I own Nike, nigga

The track then transitions to this skit that was briefly started on the earlier track “Woodcrest Manor II”. I like this. Definitely a favorite.

Raury

8. Crystal Express
Produced by Danger Mouse
This track is Raury giving us his style of folk rock basically. I wasn’t too much of a fan of it on his last project, but I really enjoy it here on this track. Shoutout to Danger Mouse on the production. Personally, I’m into shit like Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, and Sufjan Stevens so this kind of genre does appeal to me and I don’t think Raury does an injustice or anything to it on this track. I like it a lot. Though, if you’re not really into folk rock or indie much, this track probably won’t be one of your favorites. But give it a listen for yourself. I could be wrong.

9. Love Is Not a Four Letter Word
This track was a pretty awkward listen for me. Not in bad way, but I can’t really say it was in a good way either. I get its purpose in that it’s a piece of Raury’s life and it’s something he felt needed to be placed on here, but I couldn’t really vibe with this track as far as performance goes. I will say though…Raury made some good points. The track is under 2 minutes too so it doesn’t really leave a bad stain or anything. It just feels like a bit of filler, but it actually does tie into the next song quite a bit.

10. Her
Produced by Malay
I like the dreamy production on this track. The production on this album has really been pretty solid throughout, thanks Malay. Sadly, I find Raury’s singing performance on this track to be the downfall a bit. l feel like his voice being in the forefront over the dreamlike production on this track brings it down a bit for me. When it’s in the background I like it, especially when the things get heavier towards the end. The track feels a bit drawn out to.

11. Trap Tears (Featuring Key!)
Featuring Key!
This track feels like what you’d get if you remixed the track “Bedouin Dress” by Fleet Foxes and gave a trap flavor with some synthesizers. Key! just offers some adlibs, no verse or anything. Definitely a creative track. I can’t say it’s one of my personal favorites, but I’d call it a standout. I like the verse too and how the grand instrumental gets when the hook/chorus comes in.

12. Mama
This track falls more on the side of indie rock. I like this track a lot. It’s sweet and heartfelt and it’s an interesting transitions from how the relationship was portrayed a bit on his last project through these voicemail skits of him having arguments with his mom to now, him giving this pretty warm ode to his mother. The production on this track is nice too, really brings mood.

13. Kingdom Come
Produced by Malay
This shit sounds like it should’ve been on the soundtrack to that live action Where The Wild Things Are movie. But I mean that in a good way. I liked that movie and I like this track. I like it a lot. Malay did a great job handling production on this album. I really like the vibe this song gives me and even though I feel like at parts Raury’s singing feels weak it doesn’t bother me all too much on this track. It gives it this sort of mature , yet childlike feel for the mood of the track…if that makes sense. Also, shoutout to the great man Om’Mas Keith who apparently plays bass on this track and also Malik Shakur on acoustics. I really like this track. It’ll definitely get a lot of replay from me.

14. Friends
Featuring Tom Morello; Produced by Raury
And so, the album ends here with its closing track featuring the assistance of guitarist Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine. Personally, I’m indifferent with the track just a little. It’s a little too sweet for me as far as sound goes, but it’s growing on me. I like the sentiment too and how you can tie it into the album title and most of its subjects. All we need is each other. All we need is friends. All we need is to be one with each other and what’s around us and something like that can help create peace. At least, that’s what I get, and if so I think it’s nice and I agree. Aside from all that, I feel like this track is a fitting closer for the album.

BOTTOM LINE

This definitely isn’t a pure Hip-Hop album at all. It’s like if you threw the styles of folk, indie, and Hip-Hop in a blender and then sprinkled some spoken word on top. It’s no hidden secret that Raury is influenced by Andre 3000 and that influence shows up quite a bit on this project. I actually feel like 3 Stacks would’ve made something quite like this back in the mid to late 2000’s if he dropped a solo album then.

This project reminds me of a time when I was younger and I was watching films like The Wackness, Where The Wild Things Are, and even Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It feels like a “coming of age” album. The production is pretty solid throughout, Raury delivers some nice verses on a good amount of tracks, and the album is diverse by going into the different styles that Raury caters to. There’s a few weak points in the album, big that mainly just comes from Raury’s singing a bit, but it doesn’t hold the album back as a whole or anything for me. The album holds a good message too. Nice to see a new and young upcoming artist go in this direction instead of conforming.

Honestly, I didn’t like Raury’s debut mixtape. I thought the production was mediocre and I thought he himself sounded very amateurish and the message he was trying to push felt a little too “trendy” or forced, especially being that he caters to Andre 3000 a lot. But then again, it was his debut mixtape  and he was only about 17 at the release so maybe I was being more rough than I needed to be with my first impression of this brand new artist. With this album, I see a bit of the hype and the appeal behind Raury’s music. Holding Indigo Child in one hand and this album All We Need in the other, I can take the talent, the potential, the positives of both projects and mash them together and say that I actually do like Raury’s music quite a bit. Once again, shoutout to Malay and good shit Raury. Go check out the album!

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