RJ Payne – “My Life’z a Movie” review

This is the 3rd full-length album from Philly emcee RJ Payne. Coming up in the battle rap circuit under the original moniker Reignman, he would go on to build up an extensive solo catalogue for himself with 23 mixtapes as well as well as 6 EPs & of course his last 2 albums.Benny the Butcher even signed RJ to Black Soprano Family Records for a brief period of time, putting out some of best material like Leatherface & Square Root of a Kilo under Benny’s ever-growing indie label of his own. But to follow-up If Cocaine Could Talk 7 & Blood on My Chainsaw from the beginning of the year, RJ’s enlisting Stu Bangas to produce My Life’z a Movie in it’s entirety.

After the “Home Sweet Home” intro, the first song “Central Park Vibes” is a piano/boom bap-laced opener with RJ letting y’all in on a day in his life whereas “Time Hotel” takes a more jazzier route confessing that he feels like he never rests & that no one can stop him. “Little Italy” goes into drumless turf spitting some mafioso bars & after the “Vintage Brooklyn” interlude, “Brooklyn Love” returns to the boom bap professing his appreciation for the titular city in NY. After the “Q Borough” interlude though, we have RJ getting in his selfish bag on the dusty “Jamaica Ave” just before the funk/gospel hybrid “Long Island Expressway” talks about how this gon’ be a Hell of a night & that he feels like King Kong.

“Top Down in Harlem” weaves some synthesizers to flex about drive around the titular neighborhood in the City of Dreams” with the top down & after the “D Train” interlude, the song “Bronx Tale” comes through with a bluesy story that occurred in our culture’s birthplace. The penultimate track “Staten Island Vibes” works in a soul sample & a flute so RJ can rep Shaolin prior to “The Check Out” sending off the album with him on top of an orchestral yet jazzy beat talking about having a great time chilling at the Time Hotel.

As much as I enjoyed RJ’s brief run with BSF, I can argue that My Life’z a Movie is quite possibly the most cohesive body of work in his his catalog thus far. The production that Stu Bangas cooks up on here pull from an eclectic range of sounds & it’s a bit conceptual with the lyrics throughout basically serving as a genuine love letter to the Big Apple with the references to all the cities.

Score: 4.5/5

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RJ Payne – “Square Root of a Kilo” review

RJ Payne is an MC from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that started off battling under the name Reignman. He recently signed with Black Soprano Family/Griselda Records back in May & promoted it with a decent mixtape entitled Leatherface. 3 months have passed since & he’s continuing his grind with his full-length debut.

After the 7 minute “Cocaine Radio Intro”, we go into the first song “The Payne”. Where RJ gets triumphant over a soulful beat. The track “A New Day” cements his prowess over a vocal sample with some horns while the song “The Smoke” with 38 Spesh sees the 2 flexing their lyrical abilities over a boom bap beat with a sample that gets annoying after a while. The track “Drumline” with Dark Lo sees the 2 spitting battle bars over a boom bap beat with a subdued soul sample while the song “Purge Night” speaks for itself over an eerie Daringer beat.

The track “Cocaine Symphony” truly lives up to its name fantastically from the pen game to DJ Shay’s production while the song “Hitman” sees RJ comparing himself to an assassin over a boom bap beat with some synths in the background. The track “Philly Soul” with OT the Real describes the ghettos of their hometown over a settle instrumental while the song “My Dreams” explains RJ’s ambitions over a sweet soul sample.

“The GOAT” gets back on the battle bar tip over the exact same Cortex sample that Madvillain used for “1 Beer” while “The Love” preaches for positivity over a pretty piano instrumental. The penultimate track “Never Give In” with eLZhi sees the 2 spitting game over a funky bass-line & then the album ends with “Rebirth of the ROC”, where RJ teams with Da Fever & Sunnie Blac getting vicious over a symphonic beat.

As a debut album from someone with RJ’s longevity, this is pretty promising. Most of the instrumentals & some of the features could’ve been a little bit better personally, but there’s no denying that the dude sounds hungry on here & I really think BSF/Griselda is doing a great job bringing that hunger out.

Score: 3/5