Album Review: Joey Purp’s QUARTERTHING (2018 LP) shows incredible progression from the rising hip hop star

The stellar year for music that has been 2018 delivers once again with the new release from Chicago rapper Joey Purp. Off the strength of previous project iiiDrops (featuring the bouncy hit ‘Girls @‘ featuring Chance the Rapper) he’s released QUARTERTHING, a new album that shows incredible progression for the rising star.

A member of the Save Money Crew (including Chance, Towkio, Saba, and a number of other Chicago underground rappers) there are some stylistic similarities that shine through – Gospel sampling, snappy flow switches, and the dichotomy between religion and the realities of life for Chicago youth.

The album is kicked off in suberb fashion with the banger “24k Gold/Sanctified”, which feels like a pureblooded rap homage to Chance the Rapper’s Colouring Book project. The song employs walls of instruments and a driving bassline, featuring Joey’s ballad-esque delivery, a new style that he pulls off incredibly well throughout the album.

Joey’s writing has come leaps and bounds, with snappy internal rhyme schemes and witty quips that fly between topics of women, his family, violence, and numerous flexes – to the point where he keeps up with Wu-Tang rap legends RZA and GZA, who feature at the start and end of the album respectively.

This improvement is most evident on “Elastic”, a distortion-laden banger that bounces with such a volcanic rhythm it’ll be a dance floor favourite for months to come. “Look at my Wrist” is similar, with some cavernous 808’s setting the backdrop for numerous flexes that sets a carefree and triumphant tone, with Cdot Honcho’s verse capitalising off this tone; his dispersed adlibs are a great addition to the song, making it an enjoyable and fresh listen despite the relatively common subject matter.

GZA provides a closing verse on the song “In the Morning”, evoking imagery of a new day, dispelling a feeling of hope and future optimism, symbolic of Joey’s new maturity and success, acting as a teaser to fans for the undoubtedly great things to come. The short song cuts off “Lebron James” like a tape clicking to a close, and the abrupt transition to the mellow outro cuts out all of the intensity established over the album with leave fans clear-eyed as the album closes.

“Hallejulah” is similarly triumphant, with some beautiful vocal delivery over Gospel-inspired instrumentation. Joey evokes a feeling of triumph and success throughout an album, (dare I say) a fixture of sophomoric rap albums – the hard work has begun to pay off, and he is reaping the rewards, despite keeping an eye over his shoulder.

Virtually no songs fall flat, which is in part credited to the track ordering, as there is an overall feeling of progression and shift from song to song that is not only logical, but also vital in setting the tone of each subsequent song. Where iiiDrops was less structured, QUARTERTHING is a much more focused project from Joey – a truer album in the literal sense of the word.

While Joey Purp has already proven himself as a rapper to watch from the underground Chicago scene, this album has only thrust him higher into acclaim and notoriety; a well earned and deserved reward for his work to date.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

QUARTERTHING is out now.

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