Jason Rayne – In The Making – Album Review
This emcee has added so much to his game over the past couple years that the man had to even add length to his own name! Last time we reviewed Jason Rayne, he was Jason Rayn; don’t think you can just go and add an e to your name and think I won’t notice homie…this is what I DO.
Glad to have him back though…dude raps a quality rhyme, that’s facts. He flexes his potential throughout the nine cuts on his new record In The Making and delivers on the expectations we’ve got surrounding Jason’s music…he’s been plenty reliable in the past and he’s sounding fresher than ever right in the here & now. “Intro” comes out sounding HUGE right off the bat…big, giant, dramatic sounds…a quick couple words from the emcee and by the twenty-five second mark, Jason Rayne shifts gears and gets his rhymes ripping off the line from 0-100mph immediately as he makes his first impression large enough to leave a crater where your speakers used to be. Definitely the kind of beginning that establishes that impact an emcee is looking to make – I dig the mix of massiveness & confidence colliding together here…Rayne sounds hungry (Seriously…I mean that…you can hear the dude growlin’ in the background like he ain’t been fed for a month), determined and fully ready to let it rip on “Intro” – and just like that, the record is off and running.
And so there you have it…right from the drop this guy is stepping up to the mic like this is what he’s born to do.
Starting out “Chasing The Cash” with one of the infamous clips from the movie Wolf Of Wall Street and cleverly working in that sample into the beat in the hooks of this cut…I mean…if you’re about gettin’ money, then clearly this track is for you…this is your anthem. Truthfully I’d probably rag on him a bit harder for sticking so close to the script of rap on this track if it wasn’t for the high-caliber performance he puts in. “Chasing The Cash” might have a typical theme found throughout rap but the way that Rayne weaves his words like an Audi on the highway keeps us captivated and entertained through the intense amount of character he packs into his delivery.
Did he just shout out NBA Jam too? That’s what I’m talking ‘bout right there…still love that game…
But yeah…as I was saying…”Chasing The Cash” is produced solidly by Marz, one of several different producers that Jason Rayne has used on this album…the beat’s solid, the sample is really well used and the backing layers all add a ton of personality into this track as it moves from bar to bar. Main hook in the chorus has the juice and fits the song well…dig the way he drags out the words in the chorus too; it gives it a uniqueness and ends up being one of those hooks that gets stronger the more you hear it.
The lead-single from this record called “Zone” is one we’ve reviewed in the past – you can find my full thoughts on this cut here. It goes into detail there for ya…I’ll keep it brief in this review and simply mention that it’s a worthy inclusion in this set, provides a vibrant electro-tinged sound to it and has some of the deepest hooks from Rayne he’s written this far into his career. It’s a memorable cut featuring the talents of longtime collaborator K$ng – I really dig the subtle music & beat that “Zone” has; it’s a strong cut from the Jason Rayne catalog and fits right into the set here on In The Making. It’s also the first of two times that K$ng makes an appearance on the album and also the beginning of a roll that this record goes on to feature notable talent over the next several tracks.
If the performance from Fred Nice or the flow from Rayne doesn’t sell you on “Be On,” then tell me we can all at least agree on the fact that taking a time-out for a crystal-clear sample of Macho Man Randy Savage’s famous “Ohhhhhhhhhhh Yeahhhhhhhhh” in a song is like…perhaps one of the greatest ideas ever? “Be On” comes out sounding powerfully as it emerges from the misty beginning as the hooks slowly develop as the atmosphere envelops you. The low-end driven beat is HUGE…great mix on this cut harnessing that monstrously massive bass into this slow-burning behemoth by producer Dre Beatz. What I really dig about “Be On” is the incredible definition that exists between parts of this song – it moves really powerfully in the vibrant hooks of the chorus, but when the atmosphere dissipates and you’re left in the bars of the verse with just the low-end bass-beat kickin’ alongside the rap, it sounds seriously unreal. Both of the songs main parts of the writing make a giant impact here…verse to chorus, front to back, left to right, Jason Rayne & Fred Nice push the album to the next-level here on “Be On.” I also think you start to hear the R&B influence creeping into the record even more here, which is something Jason continues to work in on the following cut “Need It” featuring the vocals of Devin Koi.
Wait a minute…did he just say ‘bend her ass over while she’s eatin’ ribs?’
If there’s one thing you can be sure of when it comes to Jason’s lyricism it’s that he’s certainly never afraid to let you know exactly what’s on his mind. “Need It” is a highlight for both the way he structures and delivers his lines – you can’t deny that this guy packs character and charisma into his performance whenever he’s on the mic…and right now, I think that’s the most winning aspect of rap/hip-hop…hell, ANY kind of music right now – we as listeners want to hear genuine personalities come through those vocals. Jason Rayne continually excels in this category…he handles the mic like an expert & veteran of the game on “Need It” – a solid reminder to uninspired emcees to just straight-up retire. Smart edit on the beat, love the piano-led melody and snap of the percussion in the music…solid music from producer Stunnah and even in this tale of love & smashin,’ Jason Rayne proves he can work in a basketball track into damn near any set of bars. Shout-out to Chance The Rapper in this cut…plenty good reason for that, you can hear that’s likely an influence on Rayne personally…they certainly have similarities in their flow, style, personality in the music, character in the vocal-tones, skill, movement on the mic and more. Good company to keep without a doubt…”Need It” is an impressive tune and another memorable cut.
In The Making continues with a vibrant, bright and accessible, single-worthy track called “Live It Up.” There’s no way to resist this cut…whether it’s the giant hooks of the chorus from the vocals of guest-star T-Sounds or the way that the album’s main star rips his rhymes through the mic on “Live It Up” – any way you slice it, this is the kind of track people love to listen to. Excellent electro-beat and smart synth samples create a perfect backdrop with plenty of dynamics for Rayne to spring off from, and word-for-word, syllable-for-syllable, he puts in one of his most impressive flows of the entire record on “Live It Up.” The stakes are inarguably raised at this point of the record…the lighthearted approach to the lyrics of “Live It Up” match the amazing performance that Jason puts in on this cut…you gotta admire this emcee – that’s a straight-up captivating and confident stroll on the mic that deserves recognition. Powerful in all areas though…the hooks in the chorus of “Live It Up” are incredibly catchy and it’s doubtful that anyone within earshot of this tune would be able to resist this one. They don’t even give you a CHOICE – they start the cut with the main hooks and from that moment on, there’s no chance of turning this one down. Good chance of blowing out your speakers as you find out quickly just how LOUD you can turn your volume up…but with a little self-control you and your stereo can get through this one unharmed. Chances are, you’ll hear this cut like I did and recognize its potential for being a single from In The Making…the background cheers in “Live It Up” are well warranted and provide an added layer of enthusiasm and fresh energy in this track as it plays…and I echo their sentiment. This is a seriously strong cut on this album & an insatiably catchy song, just past the halfway-point of In The Making, beefing up the middle with perhaps the most accessible sound for the masses on “Live It Up.”
But just as you think this record might not get any better, I think Jason found another way to raise this album up to the next-level yet again with “Easy” – what’s not to like about this cut? Borrowing the musical-hook of the recognizable, massive hit-song “Easy” by Lionel Richie, producer HuppSound has the music sounding magical on this one…there’s just enough of a twist on the production & sound of that main piano line to give it that audible texture I just couldn’t get enough of. Everything about this works though…I think Jason pulls out a more personalized set of lyrics on this one that allows us as listeners to get to know the real him a bit more than the rest – and I think that makes a massive difference in terms of how strongly you connect to this tune when you hear it. You can hear a more sincere approach from Rayne on the mic here…the words are more sensitive and real…it’s hard to explain I suppose, but sometimes you can really hear the veil drop and reveal an artist’s true colors in a song – “Easy” was that song to me. It sounds honest, sounds real…still sounds incredibly smooth cause Jason Rayne does what Jason Rayne does so very damn well…AND…he’s got the absolutely angelic and graceful talents of Leslie Carron on the mic assisting in the main chorus hooks. Of all the guests featured throughout this album, I think she makes the biggest impact and most stunning first impression – I think she sounds extraordinarily beautiful and I love the sound of her voice. True to the writing of Jason’s lyrics, the words bend & shift throughout her part from line-to-line and she absolutely nails a tricky flow with absolutely gorgeous tones that fit right into this tracks theme of love and relationships. Credit to all players involved in the mix on this one…I think “Easy” might very well be my favorite cut on the record – and really, it should have been much damn harder to follow-up “Live It Up” than it became here. Back-to-back…you’re probably looking at & listening to the freshest section on the record – Jason on fire here.
And like you just dropped a quarter into your favorite arcade game, he powers-up immediately as the video-game influenced sound of “More Of Us” begins. Pop-culture references come flying out from the lyrics and the lefts & rights of your speakers as Rayne spits complex & rhythmic rhymes that have enthusiasm, energy and a crisp snap to his flow that fits the bars perfectly. Good mix on the music and finding something unique to add real diversity and versatility into the imagination and ideas on this record, “More Of Us” has Rayne working the verbal acrobatics on this cut with wild success. Definitely the kind of cut that catches your attention due to how different it is from the rest of the music on the record – but I still felt like this track completely belonged with the rest of the set. “More Of Us” still has the signature Rayne flow after all…just so happens the music shifts in an all-new direction, but there’s plenty in the overall combination of sound that makes this track still feel like a great fit for this record.
Reaching back to the 2 Rings EP from his past for another gem – “I Made It” is still one of my favorite tracks from Jason Rayne’s catalog without a doubt. Make sure to check out that past-review on “I Made It” here – but more importantly, make sure to check the actual song out. K$ng reappears to close-out the album on solid, strong tones and tried, tested & true material – “I Made It” sounded great then, it sounds great now – I think it’s an exceptional tune with a massively memorable hook in the chorus. It’s got such an inexplicably comforting sound to it…love the way its sung, love the effects on the vocals…it’s like a confirmation that Jason Rayne is getting to where he wants to go or achieving the success he’s looking for as he’s chosen to personally define it. Smart ending to In The Making…you get the lyrical journey of what’s brought him this far throughout the tracks before this…and by the end here, you get the sense that things are completely on the right path now. “I Made It” leaves us with an uplifting vibe in the lyrics & music and gives our ears audible assurance that this won’t be the last time we experience the talent, skill, beats & rhymes of Jason Rayne. The man puts in the work here on In The Making…sounds like all that effort paid off to me homie – every track brings something to the table and the entire experience of listening to this record stays seriously entertaining all the way through.