I won’t lie, I didn’t know who CJ Fly or that he was a part of Pro Era with Joey Bada$$. This was a case where I saw the cover art and I was drawn in to it’s aesthetics (see artists everything matters). In fact, if I knew beforehand that he was Pro Era, I don’t know if I would’ve given this a spin. Don’t get me wrong, I know that they have a sizable following, are pretty solid rappers, and have a true appreciation for the culture and tradition of hip-hop, but I could never get into Joey’s style. I love the golden era of hip-hop (90’s) as much as the next person but every time I heard his music, it just made me want to go listen to those artists he was so sincerely imitating. So I lost interest quickly and just assumed the rest of his group followed in that same lane. That all changed after I heard Flytrap.
“Only positive vibes what I’m trying to send
I can only get flyer, I’m trying to ascend
It don’t work the first time then keep trying again
Things won’t be smooth in the physical
Unless you fine from within”
Right from the jump I was surprised by the production. I was expecting that gritty, throwback, East coast boom bap that Joey loves so much, but instead what I heard was much more modern and more in line with today’s soundscape. If I didn’t know he was Pro Era I would probably assume that he was a member of A$AP, with just a little less Southern influences. That’s actually a compliment because I think they meld East coast hip-hop with today’s sound better than most other artists out there. “Always/Confined” has such a dope opening drum pattern before breaking down into an “East coast trill” beat full of repetitive hi-hats and even accompanied by a slowed down delivery. “Perennial” has a slick loop of what I think is an electronic piano and “Vibrations” has nice bass paired with some rhythmic chimes. Flytrap has some of the best modern East hip-hop production I’ve heard in a while.
“You don’t got a quarter of the talent that my crew show
If you niggas don’t like me better know the feelings mutual
Ya’ll amusing I’ma get a muzzle just to mute ya’ll
Crudest vocals in the game I’m a modern day Lou Rawl(s)”
Lyrically CJ is a very solid artist. I wouldn’t put him at the top of any lists and Flytrap wasn’t chock full of quotables, but he’s solid. He also has a surprisingly good singing voice that creates some great melodies on songs like “Downfall” and “Diamonds”. CJ also seems to have a real sense of himself which makes him come off as genuine when he’s rapping about women, life’s traps, and trying to make it. Flytrap was a surprisingly dope album for me; Pro Era just might have their next breakout artist.
Have you heard Flytrap? What’d you think about it? Were you expecting the modern Southern infusion? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the album.
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