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Young Black And Gifted (Azariah x Kidd Called Quest) – “The Second Coming” (Album Review)

Young Black and Gifted, the rap duo comprised of Azariah on the mic and producer Kidd Called Quest, dropped “The Second Coming,” a fourteen track album that dives deep into the thoughts, struggles, and passions of a young black man and father.

Azariah has a slower delivery akin to some of what many consider the Gold School Legends. Personally, his voice reminds me of Shai Linne (a name I expect few of you to know), with a hint of Andre 3000. During my first listen, I wasn’t terribly impressed with his wordplay, focusing more intently on his subject matter. However, after multiple playthroughs, I can say without a a doubt that the man has some bars. I don’t consider all of his lines to be shining examples of creativity and wordsmithing, but there are definitely a few gems to be dug up here and there. But just as my focus was not initially his use of metaphors and double entendres, neither is his. Azariah has a powerful ability to relay emotion and share his thoughts and beliefs through music. I’m genuinely always hesitant to call a project “woke” or “conscious” at first, because there are way too many artists that claim the title but are strictly surface level. That is not the case with “The Second Coming.” It’s jam packed with the two artists’ real perspectives, discussing both problems and some solutions to those problems, and that to me is what makes this album so respectable. That’s not to say that every song is about a particular social issue. In fact, they’ve mixed in a fair handful of pure brag raps, changing the tone at appropriate moments. 

Aside from the lyrical content, the production holds its own as well. Kidd’s work on the beats is clean and soulful. The mixing and balancing is nice and nothing feels out of place or too contradictory to the other proponents, except for the early cut in the intro. I’m not sure if something happened to the sample that forced them to cut it early, or it was an honest mistake, but regardless, it’s pretty much the only jarring moment in the entire album. Kidd does an excellent job of bringing the mellow, old school style to life, as well as diversifying each ensemble to create a tracklist of unique beats. The BPMs are all pretty similar, if not the same, but that’s more so to accommodate Azariah’s limited number of flows.

In times like the ones we are facing now, it’s nice to hear voices in rap speak up about the important things instead of following the formulaic routine of boasting and womanizing. While I don’t agree with every opinion verbatim, it’s not hard for me to recognize the quality of the album. There are not a lot of things to fault with the project as a whole, and that’s a success all on its own.

Rating 7.5/10

Highlights: Production, Lyricism, Storytelling

Follow Young Black and Gifted, Azariah, and Kidd Called Quest on IG

 



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