What happens when London, UK, meets Queens, NY? Well, you get Queens rapper, L.O.U. meets London based producer, Big O, on a killer 12 track hip hop album titled Journey of Choices (An Awakening Mind). With features from Nathan Blur, Maze Rockwell, Doughboy Tony, P-Rawb, Shari, Frannie EL, B. Chaps, Trell Money & Kria McKenzie, I could already tell that I was in for a mega project just from checking out the tracklist. So let’s get into this!
“Avenue of the Aspects” is just such a massive track! Big O is so clean on the production, from the sample choices, the drum selection and all of the subtle little transitions that add depth to each verse. L.O.U. has the first verse, and let’s be honest, the man sets a pretty high bar as he spits with cadence. Complexity that sounds easy with deep bars about self-discovery without missing a beat. Doughboy Tony is up next with a flow to match the greats with bars that stay on topic from a more street aspect. P-Rawb closes this track out with his signature unorthodox but always pleasing rap style. Examining a third and refreshing philosophical outlook on life. This is the longest track on the album, but it’s worth every second. Great job, fam!
“The Preordained” was always going to make the review top 3; it’s in the name. No, but seriously, L.O.U. comes in so hard on this one, and he maintains his heavy-hitting flow for the entire 3 minutes and 13 seconds. In my humble opinion, this is the best rap performance on the whole project. Big O is as consistent as ever, excellent production on this track, providing L.O.U. with the right amount of space to really ride the beat.
“Reality Hits”, I think this track had me at the James Baldwin sample. What a way to start a track! L.O.U. kicks us off again on the penultimate track proving that he has one of the most consistent flows in the game right now. Frannie EL brings a super fresh melodic verse to the mix. This is a nice touch to an album with nothing but clean beats and heavy bars. Big O’s production here is perfect, creating the ideal balance to render Frannie El’s melodic verse as salt and pepper on what has really been a full course, five-star meal.
This is a very well put together album, and I was impressed by all involved. If I’m being honest, I don’t know if there was a clear weak link in terms of track selection, beat selection and artist selection. Everyone came ready to contribute, and the end product is something to be proud of. If you’re a fan of real hip hop projects, then this one is for you. Go follow both of these guys on socials: L.O.U. & @bigrodamous