Joey Cool – “I Tried to Be Normal Once” review

Joey Cool is a 35 year old MC from Kansas City, Missouri who first caught attention as a long-time affiliate of local independent hip hop powerhouse Strange Music. However after releasing a total of 4 mixtapes & a studio album on his own, Tech N9ne decided to officially sign him to the Snake & Bat in 2017 & dropping his eponymous sophomore album the next year. This was followed up with Old Habits Die Hard & now as the 1-year anniversary of Coolie High approaches this fall, Joey is following it up by dropping his 5th full-length album.

After the “Swanktastical” intro, the first song “Way Down” works in a pillowy trap beat asking to dim the lights whereas “Jumpin’” is an energetic crowd mover down the Kato production. “Strange Sinatra” declares himself as such on top of a glossy trap instrumental from Dominique Sanders just before going into rap rock territory for the Tech N9ne-assisted “Man on Fire”.

Meanwhile on “Protect Thine Energy”, we have Joey going back into trap turf talking about dominating every season leading into him & Kye Colors jumping on top of some pianos & finger snaps showing their new bag for “New Phone”. He later opens up about a party in the hills that’ll probably kill him on the quasi-boom bappy “Bad Dreams”, but then “Like I’m Supposed To” atmospherically opens up about never following suit & being him.

Jon Connor of all people tags along for the jingly “Thomas Shelby” comparing themselves to the Peaky Blinders character of the same name whereas “Don’t Touch Me” has a more minimal sound saying he’s not down with the fuckery. C-Mob, Rittz, Suli4Q & Whitney Peyton come together on the trap banger “It’s a Pity” saying they did it now while “Here We Are” is a moodier jam about how “we take it far”.

The penultimate track “Whiskey of the Day” with Jehry Robinson & Wrekonize finds the trio joining forces to deliver a catchy homage to Jack Daniels down to the stripped-back production & the closer “Coolie Time” is a just yet hyper dedication to Red Rocks Amphitheatre, which is where his Strange Music contract was publicly revealed at.

Now I don’t know where Joey Cool is going from here because we all know a lot of artists have been leaving Strange to do their own thing throughout these last few months, but I’m gonna stick along for the ride because this is as solid as his previous efforts. I love the confidence in his voice & even though 7 usually produces the label’s output, they make it work without him.

Score: 3.5/5

Joey Cool – “Coolie High” review

This is the brand new album from Kansas City rapper Joey Cool. Gaining attention as a long-time affiliate of local independent hip hop powerhouse Strange Music, he releasing a total of 4 mixtapes & a studio album on his own before Tech N9ne decided to officially sign him to the Snake & Bat just about 3 years ago. He made his official Strange debut in 2018 with his self-titled sophomore effort & that was followed up last fall with Old Habits Die Hard. But with his birthday being earlier this week, Joey is celebrating by dropping Coolie High.

The opener “Black Magic” speaks on his prophecy over a trap instrumental from Dominique Sanders with a catchy rhythm to it & then the next track “It’s All Me” talks about the redundancy to talk shit over an icy boom bap beat. The song “You Ain’t Seen Shit” claps back at the naysayers over a militant trap beat from 7 while the track “I’m Fine” is a great humble brag backed by a rubbery Kato instrumental.

The song “Bandolera” with Bodega Bamz, J-Izzie & VG Legacy sees the 4 getting sexual over a Latin-flavored instrumental from longtime collaborator Burna Music while the track “Lifting Me Higher” vents about his inner struggles over a gospel-esque beat. The song “Lions” with JL & Tech N9ne is a deadly showcasing of their chopping skills while the track “Blame Coolie” talks about wanting all the smoke over a diabolical-sounding instrumental.

The song “F.S.U. (Fuck Shit Up)” is a monstrous moshpit starter while the track “Talk About It” ponders what he did to get people talking shit about him over a chaotic beat. The song “Poisoned” talks about how it’s a messed up world over a druggy instrumental while the track “Pirates” with Rittz finds the 2 boasting over a skeletal yet aggressive beat.

The song “Hold Up” with Landxn Fyre sees the 2 talking about those who act like they ain’t shit over a vibrant instrumental while the track “Systematic” with the late Info Gates finds the 2 diving into the meaning of such over a spacious boom bap beat. The song “Why Do You Love Me?” with Yung Scar is a decent romance ballad with some saloon-esque piano chords while the track “Go There” with Krizz Kaliko sees the 2 talking about looking to ease their minds over a full blown reggae beat.

The song “Wish I Was You” talks about those who want to be in Joey’s position over an uplifting beat while the track “Stuck” talks about someone who refuses to change over a moody instrumental while the song “Still Catchin’ Waves” talks about never looking back to the past. The titular closer gets celebratory over a rock influenced instrumental & then the bonus cut “Blessed” talks about accepting who he is over a synth heavy boom bap beat.

Man, it just seems like Joey just keeps getting better & better with each year he puts something out. There were a few features that I personally could’ve done without, but you get a really good look at how skilled Joey is as an MC throughout a good portion of this album’s 72 & a half minute runtime.

Score: 3.5/5

Joey Cool – “Old Habits Die Hard” review

Joey Cool is a 33 year old rapper from Kansas City, Missouri that first gained attention as a long-time affiliate of local independent hip hop powerhouse Strange Music, releasing a total of 4 mixtapes & a studio album on his own before Tech N9ne decided to officially sign him to the Snake & Bat just about 2 years ago. He made his official Strange debut last May with his self-titled sophomore effort & as we approach the last quarter of this decade is coming around the corner, he’s back with his 3rd full-length album.

It all kicks off with “King Coolie”, which talks about his newfound success where some luxurious keyboards from Burna Music. The next song “Turn It Down” flexes over a dark beat from Leonard DStroy while the track “Pieces of Me” talks about being broken over a gloomy beat from 7. The title track talks about maturity over a downtempo electro beat while the song “I Got Dat” talks about the things he has over an atmospheric beat.

The track “‘Til Further Notice” with Krizz Kaliko sees the 2 claiming their spots to the throne over a grimy trap beat while the song “C.w.d.B. (Coolie wit da Bitches)” speaks for itself over a banger beat. After the “Put the Swank On It” interlude, the track “Come On” is a rowdy club banger while the song “Stop That” with King Iso sees the 2 going at studio gangsters over some twinkling bells & heavy bass.

The track “Decisions, Decisions” gets self-explanatory lyrically over a psychedelic beat Kato while the song “Remedial” with JL finds the 2 claiming themselves to be just that over a gritty instrumental. The track “Speak on It” with Emilio Rojas sees the 2 telling their naysayers to talk smack to their faces over a moody trap beat from Suli4Q while the song “Bye Now” is basically Joey saying he ain’t got tolerance for foolishness over a keyboard instrumental from Info Gates.

The track “I Can’t Remember” with UBI sees the 2 talking to this chick they thought they saw at the club the night before over a woozy instrumental while the song “Above Average” with Maez301 sees the 2 getting lavish over a blissful beat. The track “Throw It” with Godemis finds the 2 tossing dollars & getting laid over an abrasive beat while the song “Head Case” with Stevie Stone sees the 2 wanting all the smoke over a somber beat with some rubbery bass.

The track “You Ain’t Know” talks about being in the middle of the map over a cavernous beat while the song “Bet It All” with Tech N9ne, JL & Zoo gets celebratory over a hyphy beat. The album then finishes with “Violent Contradictions”, where Joey pours his heart out over some low ranged piano chords.

Personally, this is tied with the self-titled album as Joey’s best work yet. In contrast the previous album being a proper introduction to a wider audience, he comes off as more mature this time around & I really welcome & respect that of him.

Score: 3.5/5

Joey Cool – Self-titled review

After being affiliated with Strange Music for several years, Kansas City MC Joey Cool finally signed to the label in October of last year. Now, he’s releasing his first full-length album with them. The album opens perfectly with “The Rhythm Lounge”, where Joey gets hungry for success over a tuba-heavy lounge music-inspired instrumental from Info Gates. The next song “Hard” with JL & Tech N9ne sees the 3 getting braggadocious over a decent trap beat while the track “I’m the Plug” has a nice bass heavy instrumental & the concept isn’t bad either, but the hook is kinda annoying.

The song “Change Your Life” is basically Joey’s success story over an eerie Seven instrumental while the track “Under Pressure” is about how he’ll never fold over some horns. The song “Handle of Jack” is an ode to alcohol over a relaxing beat and the track “Fall” is about Joey staying up when people try to bring him down over an atmospheric trap beat from Seven with some rubbery bass. The song “Divine” is a smooth sex jam while the cleverly titled “Stranger Things” with Ubiquitous gets conscious over a somber beat.

The song “Life Lessons” talks about never taking Ls again and I love the synthesizers on here. The track “One, Two” with the CES Cru sees the 3 talking about they have things they need to do over a gritty instrumental and the song “Secure the Bag” intelligently touches down on the subject of money over an abrasive beat. The track “Bottom Bitch” with Breaking Bad News talks about grinding over a settle beat & the closer “Family” tells intriguing stories his relatives over a gloomy trap beat.

As expected, this is Joey Cool’s best work to date. He sounds more passionate, hungrier, his lyricism is sharper and the instrumentals are some of the best he’s ever been given. A truly exciting new member of the Strange family and I’ll definitely be looking forward to more of him in the future.

Score: 3.5/5