Skyzoo – “The Mind of a Saint” review

This is the 8th full-length album from Brooklyn veteran Skyzoo. Emerging in the underground off the 9th Wonder produced Cloud 9: The 3 Day High, he continued to make a name for himself with a lengthy yet very consistent discography. Highlights include The Salvation, the !llmind produced Live from the Tape Deck, A Dream Deferred, Music for My Friends, the Apollo Brown produced The Easy Truth, In Celebration of Us & my personal favorite: the Pete Rock produced Retropolitan. Last time we heard from Sky was a year & a half ago when he dropped the gentrification-themed All the Brilliant Things, but is returning to dedicate The Mind of a Saint to one of my favorite shows ahead of it’s final season next month: Snowfall.

“Eminent Domain” is a jazzy boom bap opener encouraging to picture opportunities by rewriting the rules whereas “Views from the Valley” takes a more soulful route in terms of sound acknowledging how the angels look different on the other side of the city. “Panthers & Powder” brings back the jazz with some kicks & snares admiring the beauty within all of it leading into the spacious “Straight Drop” talking about how it’s God levels in the town when they up.

Moving on from there with “100 to One”, we have Sky acknowledging that he has more to say than a few 16 bars & a hook on here saying it’s best to act like you ain’t know over a swooning beat with some trumpets leading into the piano-infused “Bodies!” opening up about everyone Franklin has killed so far deserved to die. “The Balancing Act” blends some horns & crooning vocals together talking about being the messiah type while “Brick by Brick” returns to the boom bap kicking that outside shit for the 1 time. The penultimate track “Apologies in Order” is an endearing open letter with the beat having a glistening quality to it & “Purity” is a solemn 7-minute closer with talking about becoming the oracle.

There’s always been a source of inspiration for every single body of work that Skyzoo has put out & it’s amazing how he continues to be consistent after all these years because I don’t see how anyone who has the sane amount of love for hip hop & Snowfall would dislike this album. He excellently captures what Franklin Saint’s innermost thoughts could be when dealing with the world he’s caught within & the production playing to the conventional jazz/boom bap hybrids we’ve come to know & love him for.

Score: 4/5

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Skyzoo – “All the Brilliant Things” review

Skyzoo is a 38 year old MC from Brooklyn, New York rising in the underground off l the 9th Wonder produced Cloud 9: The 3 Day High. He continued to make a name for himself with a lengthy yet very consistent discography that includes the full-length debut The Salvation, the !llmind produced Live from the Tape Deck, A Dream Deferred, Music for My Friends, the Apollo Brown produced The Easy Truth, In Celebration of Us & my personal favorite: the Pete Rock-produced Retropolitan. Last time we heard from Sky was a year ago with the Father’s Day-themed EP Milestones & knowing his grind, he’s back at it with his 7th album.

“Free Jewelry” starts the album off by sampling Gap Mangione’s “Diana in the Autumn Wind” & lyrics looking back on Sky’s career whereas “St. James Liquor” is a celebratory boom bap banger. Al Skratch of all people appears on the jazzy “A Tour of the Neighborhood”, is which literally a look into the area they grew up in. “Rich Rhetoric” is a intricate breakdown of the wealthy backed by a dusty beat while “Bodega Flowers” incorporates some kick-drums & a somewhat funky bass-line accompanying lyrics about appreciation.

Meanwhile on “Something to Believe In”, we get a sample of the iconic Roy Ayers joint “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” along with the concept of being blessed even when Satan is testing him & even though “Humble Brag” speaks for itself conceptually, the vocals in the background are pleasant to the ear. “I Was Supposed to Be a Trap Rapper” takes a look at Skyzoo’s past with JR Swiftz’ production constantly switching from gritty to jazzy while “Plugs & Connections” has rich instrumental & the theme of this is: “ain’t nobody tell nobody what’s to be expected”.

“The Scrimmage” has a hypnotic vocal sample as well as lyrics about minding your limits while we go back to into jazz territory for “Culture-Ish”, which is about passing it down until the baton’s gone. The song “Bed-Stuy’s Burning” speaks on the gentrification of the titular neighborhood accompanied by a live band while the self-produced penultimate track “What Money Taught Us” tells us just that over some keyboards. The album then ends with “Soft Eyes”, which is a glossy romance tune.

It’s always a rejoicing thing whenever this dude drops a project & this is no different from that. Not just because the production has some jazzy undertones to it & some great sample choices, but the whole concept of new era of cultural appropriation is well executed.

Score: 4/5