REASON is a 29-year rapper who signed to Top Dawg Entertainment in 2018. Since then, he’s been held as the imprints next star, but with only one major release in, There You Have It, his potential has quickly become overlooked. Last weekend, he finally put out his brand new album titled New Beginnings. With features from hip-hop heavyweights like Isaiah Rashad, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Vince Staples, and many more, will REASON be able to step into the role the culture had destined him for?
After briefly catching up on “Something More”, REASON unleashes his chaotic side in ways never seen. From dissing his ex-lovers on “Stories I Forgot” to making a ruthless street anthem with ScHoolboy Q on “Pop Shit”, it’s clear not to get on this MC’s sour side. At the pinnacle of this is “Show Stop”, which follows a similar formula but is highlighted by Kendrick Lamar’s uncredited vocals. Past this, the rest of the album is solely pushed off of REASON’s integrity and heart. Addressing topics such as the corruption and misguidance of females on “Fall” and “I Can Make It”, the Carson California MC shows his gift to carefully pick apart cultural issues. Balancing things out, “Slow Down” and “Windows Cry” crack into his personal life as REASON cries due to his self proclaimed failure as a man. “Extinct” was the records definite standout as the 29-year-old MC recruits labelmate Isaiah Rashad and Dreamvilles JID for a lyrical exercise where they look down upon the ones who strive for mediocrity. Led by Vince Staples, Rapsody, and Ab-Soul, the abundance of notable features are worth mentioning due to to the critical role they play throughout the LP. Blending swagger, potency, and depth seems like something that is becoming more common in hip hop today, yet REASON manages to assert himself as one of the rising stars in this field.
Behind the boards, the production is handled reasonably well on all fronts. Whether its REASON’s vocal morphing on “Stories I Forgot” and “Show Stop” or the glowing samples on “Gossip” and “Slow Down”, the attention to detail is something any music fan can nod there head too. “Extinct” samples the MF DOOM produced “Pennyroyal” off of Joey Bada$$’s 1999 in a way were it feels reinvented yet loyal to its source. On various occasions, REASON falls flat vocally while raising his energy however, the instrumentals on cuts like “Favorite N***a” and “Stories I Forgot” hold things together due to the chaos and atmosphere they trap the listener within. In all of its admiration, “Westside”, “I Can Make It”, “Flick It Up”, and a few others suffered due to there painfully simple soundscapes. While nothing exceptional is done on the sonic side of New Beginnings, an album centered around lyricism doesn’t preferably need it to.
Overall, New Beginnings is the true welcoming party of Top Dawg Entertainment’s youngest member. While still having a long way to go, REASON steps up to the plate showing the listener he has all the intangibles of a great MC. While many guys can make a substantial collection of songs, what separates the men from the boys in hip hop is the ability to create an amazing body of work, and for REASON, that seems to be his next target. In the future, I hope the 29-year-old rapper will continue to grow and develop as TDE appears to have him at the center of their future.
- Powerful commentary on important issues
- Amazing features
- Above-average lyricism
- Creative flows/deliveries
- Production bland at times
- REASON’s all-around skill set is underdeveloped
- Crumbles vocally when energy is too high