I have to admit that I was sleeping on this one. While I am familiar with Skyzoo and know he’s a beast of a lyricist I’ve never really checked for a full project of his. That was a mistake, because In Celebration of Us has already shot to the top of my albums of the year list and even though it’s only February I don’t see it sliding too many spots by the end. From the opening track I just knew I was listening to something different. It’s a fully realized project that’s a complete celebration of blackness, fatherhood, and community; and while it’s overall tale is a small, personal affair, the way he paints the picture and the way skits pop in to enhance the ride really make it feel like a much grander journey and by the ending’s heartfelt revelation I found myself fully invested. Add to that a pen that is absolutely working overtime; it took me multiple listens just to catch all the gems he was dropping with ease. There wasn’t one verse I felt was a miss and the backing production is phenomenal (that back half of “Heirlooms & Accessories” is ridiculous!!!). In Celebration of Us has that classic NY boom-bap feel with a still modern sound. I haven’t even heard the rest of his discography but this, this right here, is his best album yet, and I say that with complete certainty. Black consciousness is on the rise in all facets of the arts and going into 2018 I would have never predicted that Skyzoo would be one of the ones leading the way. But I couldn’t help but smile after running this project through and that’s the sign of good ass music and what top tier hip-hop is all about.
Things just seem to gel better with Brown's more traditional boom-bap and sample heavy sounds as Ghostface Killah's sinister lyrics glide more effortlessly than before and the dark tales have decidedly more pop. The end result may be less ambitious than Younge's previous effort but it is a better match and a smoother listen.
Lyricism and his respect for the culture and tradition of hip-hop is still front and center but with a modern NY sound and feel that doesn't feel too contrived like it did at times on Paranoia. This is the Dave East I've been waiting for - full of lyrical venom, vivid storytelling, and street wise gravitas, yet still in touch with the times.
There was a shocking lack of topical social commentary from one of rap's most vocal social activists, and I think that was a huge missed opportunity. But if you miss that real 'soul' of hip-hop and real bars, then you can do much worse than Radio Silence.
“Back tracking to the moments that inspired the toast, To the half gallon of Henny for supplying you hope, Til you’re back to backing the semi from inside of your coat, Either that, or standing on the other side of the scope, Or, it’s a celebration of being nowhere near where that aim is, Trigger fingers turn to quotations, Same fingers boxing you in will leave you vacant, Round of applause down the hall for all your patience”
Have you heard In Celebration of Us? What’d you think about it? Did you expect something of this quality from Skyzoo? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions to the album.
Skyzoo – In Celebration of Us Reaction
Skyzoo dropped off a fully realized project that's a complete celebration of blackness, fatherhood, and community; and while it's overall tale is a small, personal affair, the way he paints the picture makes it feel like a much grander journey and by the ending's heartfelt revelation I found myself fully invested. Add to that an ridiculous pen full of rewind worthy gems and phenomenal production makes this a top tier hip-hop album that must be heard.