This album is an interesting one. It is the follow up LP to his 2017 debut album SYRE, and the full direct follow up to his 2019 mixtape ERYS is Coming.
ERYS is on his MSFTSMusic label, which is distributed/owned by Republic Records/UMG and managed by Roc Nation. In an interview with Rolling Stone Jaden explains the story for ERYS:
It’s pretty much the story of a young man named Erys. He lives in Los Angeles, but it’s in a world where Los Angeles has almost been destroyed a little bit. You don’t really know what happened, but it’s like a dystopic Los Angeles. It’s like The Warriors where everybody is running around, and it’s this interconnected web of these young kids who run the city. Erys decides to be the leader and take over the city. He gains control of everyone by the means of fear almost. It doesn’t end well for him, but that’s kind of the end of the story.
It continues the pseudo concocted dark intellectualism path of SYRE through the tracks albeit not always consistent.
To listen to a full 1 hour breakdown of Jaden’s ERYS, check out episode 2 of GANTcast where G and myself banter with Nick (a.k.a. TSRK) by clicking HERE.
A lot of ERYS is very melodic and well produced. Producers such as Lido, Yuki, and OmArr are seen throughout the album. This is the type of album you would hear played in clothing boutiques in metro areas and I don’t mean that in a bad way. The production is instantly likable and easy to get into which allows even the most casual of hip-hop listeners to enjoy it. But that does not quell the issues that this album suffers from. The schema done on SYRE with tracks 1-4 with B-L-U-E is done once again on ERYS with P-I-N-K. This 4 part series always starts the album off well. In Rolling Stone Jaden explains P-I-N-K and why the concept was brought back:
Pink for Erys is really everything. All he really has is pink. He finds this new substance; this thing it’s called “vision.” And he puts it in these pink packs, and he gives it to everyone, and when they take it they start becoming his minions pretty much, do whatever he wants, in like a zombie, soldier type of way. That’s what pink is for Erys. Pink for him is control. Pink for him is power. He is pink. Everything is pink for him. That’s why everything on him is pink, hair’s pink, car’s pink. Everything is pink.
The first half of the album is fairly energetic especially with NOIZE (produced by Ayo, Keyz, Keanu Beats, Yuki, and Fabio Aguilar) and Tyler’s feature on it. Very hard hitting and in your face. But with the continued path down this forced dark intellectualism Jaden does not always have the lyricism or recognizable cadence to back it up. Bars like “When they say I fucking did it, but I don’t know what I did” can make you question what he’s going for sometimes. Concept albums are not always easy tom do and executed very rarely (e.g. Lupe executed the greatest concept album of all time with The Cool and had the lyrical prowess to make it happen). Willows vocal contributions to the tracks were well done, along with Kid Cudi’s feature for On My Own (produced by LASTNGHT, Dinuzzo, OmArr) which is the best track on this album without debate. The hook is marvelous, and Jaden steps it up here as well with his verses getting back into his zone with bars like “The media mislead us / True wealth is knowledge”.
Jaden’s albums tend to be good. But that’s about it. Nothing special or high tier. He has an idea and delivers on it. The production and features usually outshine Jaden himself as he comes off uninspired and plain from time to time. On paper a lot of these ideas sound spectacular, but unmet hype always leads to disappointment.
The production is very good. The production team delivered on ERYS. When it comes to Jaden albums this category is always be very consistent.
The writing is sub-par. It is not terrible, just very bland and uninspired. Shining writing moment was from Kid Cudi, whom is simply a 1 time feature on this album.
Vocals on this album by Jaden were nothing special. Notable vocals moments were solely from Willow and Kid Cudi. Cadence on the rapping, quality of the singing from Jaden was nothing special.
As stated, on paper this probably would sound like the most creative album of the year. The idea itself is somewhat creative, but everything on the album just does not come off that way. Occasionally either seems to stray from the concept or just not push the concept hard enough to where it’s not clear something is going on in the character’s world.
The execution on this album delivered. All intended sounds came across the way they were meant to. The mixing and the mastering was done well, and the soundscape carves out a mental visual canvas for the listener. But the album itself could’ve been so much more.
FINAL SCORE: 5.8