Earlier this month I was prompted to review the up-and-coming rapper, Yung Rose’s, latest album, Shemar. Even though Rose comes from my home state of Texas, I had never heard of him. What I came across when listening to his music was an incredible display of production quality and lyricism that is without a doubt worth a listen. 

What comes to mind first when listening to Shemar is the album’s beats. And holy shit there are some bangers in there, guys. While many young rappers default to overplayed, popular beats that sound generic and unoriginal — yet often catchy — Young Rose fights back with an originality and playfulness uncommon to rappers of his caliber. 

Each track (excluding a two-parter) has its own distinct beat that is complex and layered enough to please audiophiles everywhere while still never distracting from the lyrical flow of his verses. And all of the beats have a collage of whatever your favorite subgenre of rap is. 

One that comes to mind off the top of my head is HUF Boy — one of my new favorite songs to drive to. It reminds me of Dr. Dre’s beats in all the right ways: heavy bass followed with an eclectic synth. 

I Know You’re Jelly Pt.1 and Pt.2 are also favorites on the album. They contain a faster-paced beat which gives Rose and AustinAnthony the space to show off their solid flow and show that a faster beat does not hinder musical legibility. The one thing worth nitpicking in the songs is the identical beat behind both parts. Otherwise, the lyrical quality through both is fantastic with punchlines and witty wordplay that keep even the pickiest of lyricists like myself satisfied.

Including the beats, the entire production of the album is nuanced and inventive. The electronic synth melodies against the use of real instruments in some of the later tracks creates a satisfying tension hard to successfully achieve without sounding mish-moshy. Hearing the electric and bass guitars back the tracks without them seeming out of place is a nice change of pace, especially in a genre that predominantly avoids analog instrumentation. 

I have to mention the visible amount of effort put into each song’s hook. Too often, young artists focus solely on their lyrics and unintentionally leave the hook on the backburner. But don’t worry; you won’t be bored between Yung Rose’s verses on Shemar.

I hope you can tell that I’m a fan of this album. BUT, I don’t think it’s perfect. Rose adds these long-winded interludes in some of Shemar’s songs that drone on. The one plus side to these song breaks, though, is the way in which they make the listener crave the instrumentals to kick back in. It’s almost like Rose is teasing his listeners and training them to stick it out for the big finish. 

Going into this review with basically no expectations was an adventure in and of itself, and damn, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m already adding Young Rose to my regular playlist —  you should, too.

Be sure to check out Yung Rose on Spotify and Instagram!

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