Lay B – Turbulence – Album Review
An emcee with killer instincts, supreme talent, and the right beats to work with – Lay B has put together a stunning record with the set-list of songs on Turbulence. After spinning it several times, if there were weak points to be found somewhere, I would have found’em – facts are facts – this emcee is clearly at the top of his game right now and understands what it takes to make a track completely work from beginning to end. The focus is sharp, the skills are shaper – Lay B should be proud of this effort.
I formed an instant attachment to the bold first impression that Turbulence puts out – “Forsaken” immediately shows the depth on the mic from the knowledge & thoughts being spit to the tone of his voice. Lay B ain’t just stringing together random words y’all – the man has put real craft into these bars. That’s a completely enticing beat and piano-sample combo goin’ on – “Forsaken” connects right away with the energized personality that Lay B puts in and the melancholy vibe in the music & lyrics – make no mistake, this homie has come out of the gate with a track that’s wildly personal, raw, & real. You can hear the conviction behind the words…and no matter how good or how grim the situations he’ll describe go on to be, you can absolutely tell that the world he’s rappin’ about is the world that’s real to him. The atmosphere of this first cut is huge – you can hear Lay B’s words bouncing off the wall in a haunting echo as “Forsaken” begins before he lights up the verse even more & brings style to the rhythm. Definitely a sick beginning…I dig the religious references and the questioning that comes along with it in the lyrics…right off the bat you can tell you’re in for an experience that has soul & perspective.
Slippin’ into the smooth sounds of “Changed Mines,” Lay B takes the record into a decidedly single-worthy tune and a massive highlight early on. That beat! Man! Those samples! For real – this slick cut takes hold instantly – and you can hear that the man in charge is feelin’ it too, coming out with vocals that complement the entire cut and complete the vibe. There’s a real classic Hip-Hop vibe that runs through this cut…like it came from the Coolio era, or the chill cuts from the Naughty By Nature catalog – I think this works majorly to his advantage here; still plenty relevant for today, but with just a hint of what makes the genre familiar and inviting to many people out there as well. The results are smoother-than-smooth really – I can’t imagine anyone out there being able to resist the way this song glides along. Perfect samples, great chilled-out tempo, brilliant pace & flow from Lay B on the mic…you drift and ride with “Changed Mines,” letting your mind wander into the words as he wordsmith’s it up…that twinkling of the piano keys is the cherry on top – everything about this track comes out right & screams SINGLE. Love the way it comes to a melting finish as well…like a tape jammed up in the machine…sounds dope!
Working the vocals rhythmically and confidently in the hooks, “What Is Love?” pretty much confirms that track after track, you can count on Lay B to be on-point with his rhymes every time. Dude hasn’t made a step out of line so far and continually raises the stakes of his own performance by keeping it diverse & versatile on the mic. No doubt about it though, the man steps up to the plate big-time here – the hooks of “What Is Love?” are insanely cool and I really dig that he’s not calling in for assistance and handling his business on his own when it comes to that aspect of his music…gives it a solid consistency that you can rely on…cause this cat is clearly all about quality, all damn day. He shines hard in the verse – but there’s also no doubt that he’s found a chorus that’s completely going to catch some attention out there. Love the way the background samples work with him in those moments as well; separate ideas of sorts I suppose, coming from different places, but truly kickass when you hear how they intersect with each other and interact together. Three-for-three without question so far, the man’s got great ideas.
I really dig the songwriting on “Letter To Her” – Lay B switches up his approach significantly here, communicating more in a one-on-one style than to all of us out here listening. The result ends up sounding significantly personal and real…the kind of track, subject, content, and theme that sounds like genuine experience and has Lay B reflecting on it all. I think this was a good move; I don’t think this guy has had any issue with being real on the mic with us – but I do think that “Letter To Her” comes out sounding just that much more personal because of how he’s written it. He even spells it out direct more or less at the very beginning of this cut – he’s writing to an audience of one, but he’s taking this moment to say some really important stuff and get some things off his chest as he clears the air with his first love. I dunno…I’m always a huge fan of an artist putting themselves as directly into their material as possible – I really feel like that’s what Lay B accomplishes here…I mean, it’s a super-personal cut really – I think it takes courage to put this kind of track out there knowing that it’s written for one, but that we’re all gonna be listening, know what I mean? “Letter To Her” is the kind of track that would have fallen flat on its face were it not sincere – that’s where Lay B succeeds where others would fail – you can hear this is real as real can get and a bold, honest look into the soul of the man behind the microphone.
The combination of jazzy sounds and endless flow on “Only Be Me” is bound to catch a lot of attention out there – or at the very least, it should…because this is brilliantly fresh. One of the most uplifting & unique vibes that you’ll find on Turbulence – Lay B sounds confident enough to perform for a full stadium and leave the people screamin’ on “Only Be Me.” I think it’s moments like this that really cut to the quick about what makes Lay B one of the hottest on the mic this year with the songs on this record – you can hear he’s performing this track like he’s playing to millions and making every second count for something. What more can you ask for? That’s what it takes to really make it out there…whether it’s the studio or the stage, you gotta bring it like every moment is your last time out & give it everything you got – no matter how chill the style of Lay B might be or how laidback his tone is at times, make no mistake, he’s putting it all-in every time. Especially into the overall quality of these ideas – “Only Be Me” is a perfect example of the killer combination of performance and production complementing each other in full-effect…you can practically hear the lights & cameras flashing on this cut as Lay B lays it down on the m-i-c. Ear catching cut for sure…I like that the music’s got plenty of hooks on its own, the vocals add more, and as always, you get that resonating sincerity & skilled, determined flow from Lay B.
“What’s The Truth?” packs a serious punch both lyrically and through the music itself, demonstrating the balance that this emcee is more than capable of creating; you get crystal clarity in the rhymes, allowing you to absorb every word, and the beat finds its way to spine-tingling moments through seriously clever additions to the sound as this cut plays on. He’s putting out a verbal challenge to emcees out there…or anyone else willing to front when it comes right down to it – Lay B has chosen an exceptional beat to work with on “What’s The Truth?” and the hooks are mighty strong yo. A really solid cuts that emphasizes just how important it is to back up the talk with some action – this emcee’s putting that theory to work by creating a track like this to call out the people out there that can’t get off their ass. Lay B makes all kinds of references to the masks that too many of us wear in life and what’s real in behind’em…the music is once again as killer as it gets…wickedly subtle vibe going on but MAN does it hit the mark. On a record that’s already been stocked full of amazing, tight, and focused ideas – “What’s The Truth?” still managed to stand out time after time upon repeat – Lay B is crushin’ it on this cut. There are many elements in the samples & music that make this cut undeniably cool…violins and ice-like keys…smartly controlled beat and swirling sounds in the atmosphere…insanely captivating sound, 100%.
People out there that dig an emcee that’s got the right tone to match the words they’re spittin’ – Lay B has got the bars you’re looking for. “Fake Bosses” is a perfect example of what sets him apart from the rest – not only does he write intelligent words into a complex flow, but it’s the way he expresses those words with such accurate emotion that makes the real magic happen. Like Black Thought in the freestyle or all about the seriousness on a track like “Don’t Say Nuthin” – Lay B sounds deadly on the mic throughout the haunting atmosphere of “Fake Bosses” – another real highlight for how this emcee makes the words move. Stickin’ & movin’ like a pro in the ring, the man don’t miss with his verbal jabs; he hits his targets on-point on cuts that swing the hardest like “Fake Bosses” does. Definitely one of my favorite performances from the main star of this record – you can practically feel the weight of the chip on Lay B’s shoulder here…the piano-led sample fuelling the cut adds even more tension and suspense. THIS EMCEE KEEPS IT REAL YO! LISTEN to the words of “Fake Bosses” and recognize the guy makes point after point that makes complete damn sense & that clearly, Lay B knows that ultimately, word is bond.
The rhythm Lay B finds for his words on “The Game” is spot-on the money homies – definitely a single-worthy tune coming in the late-stages of Turbulence here. The entire vibe in the music is thought-provoking; add-in the smart observations & perspective from Lay B on the m-i-c, and you’ve got everything you need to keep your speakers satisfied. I mean, I’d give the guy some pointers if I had any for him – but the man knows his way around the studio yo! Continually one of my favorite vibes on Turbulence – “The Game” is the sound of Lay B at his best without question…he’s right into this vibe and makes the most of this rhythm to create a maximum impact. Ladies wanna take notice of this cut – cause the man is layin’ down some serious facts on the mic about what life is like out there from the male perspective and revealing a ton of details on how they think…how they manipulate…how they lie. “You can play the game or the game plays you.” #Truth – Lay B sums it all up and says it as good as it could ever be said right there. Definitely a massively catchy sound at work on this cut y’all will enjoy.
Dude’s got a genuine crossover sound. Reviewers often talk about & debate the differences between Rap & Hip-Hop, but it feels like the conversation isn’t a necessary one here – Lay B manages to combine both seamlessly into one through the music he makes and I could imagine dedicated fans of both genres digging what this emcee brings to the game. That’s gonna work to his advantage overall and it certainly does on “Jealousy.” I’m also a massive fan of the beat selection here once again and the samples used…wherever those female vocals come from, that’s a golden find right there is what that is, they add so much to the concept and sound of this track. People are gonna be able to relate to this track…whether they want to admit that or not might be a different story; but either you’ve been jealous before or you’ve dealt with “Jealousy” – and it ain’t never easy. Lay B makes the case for not having any time for it…he definitely acknowledges its presence, but he ain’t hung up on “Jealousy,” nor does he let it affect him. Dude just pimp struts on down the road and on to the next opportunity. He takes the experience with him; don’t get me wrong, he ain’t ice-cold like that, he remembers the situation, emotions, feelings and can recall them all while he’s reflecting & rhyming about relationships – but he does also understand what it takes to move on and knows the signs to look for to know that he should.
When the man wants to turn the flow on, he just don’t quit. Listen to the way he starts up “Hood To The Burbs” and lets the words rip, bar after bar, Lay B keeps the intensity on-point with another perfect match in his vocal tones to the music surrounding him. I like the guy’s approach to mic…he stands out as he is without having to get too dramatic or over the top; when he wants to stoke the fire, he does, but for the most part he finds a really chill gear that allows for maximum impact & flexibility in his flow. A lot of the success of this record comes down to the fact that Lay B understands exactly what he’s going for when it comes to his style & sound – the beats he’s working with are perfectly suited for him and he ends on another tense highlight on “Hood To The Burbs.” Lay B has serious game when it comes to his lyrical imagery and ability to narrate the details of a story or experience, you can totally get right into this emcee’s words and visualize these scenes he describes like a movie in your mind. This final vibe is one that feels like a shadow continually creeping over you as you realize something massive is right behind you…there’s drama and tension for sure, but doled out perfectly. With a master’s grip on the mic, Lay B throws down one final confident cut, sounding more serious than perhaps any other single moment on Turbulence to make sure he puts in a performance where you’ll remember his name when it’s all said and done. “Hood To The Burbs” is a killer finale and ending to this record, which for real, has no flaws…I don’t know exactly what I was expecting to be truthful, but this surpassed all expectations I could have had – Lay B has got serious style & swag on the mic and rhymes that are undeniably tight.
Check it out for yourself and find Lay B’s new record Turbulence direct at Datpiff here: https://mobile.datpiff.com/mixtape/891589
Join the thousands of bands & artists reviewed at sleepingbagstudios by clicking here!