Artists all develop at various paces and times. Some artists hit the scene hard like Kendrick Lamar did with Section 80. Some make instant hits and do numbers off of their debut albums like Nas with Illmatic. There are some that take time to develop like Common did. And some artists just kill the underground like Big KRIT has so far.
Hip hop is a different beast that everyone gets to tackle in a different way. And that’s what Once A King made me realize after listening to it. Randy P, another Abstract Campus featured artist, dropped Once a King during the Summer and made strides in his own personal way. After dropping Zero Heroes a few years ago, I think that most who listened would agree that Once A King presents a much cleaner, clearer product with more of a direction.
This is Randy P’s second full project, so I didn’t really know what to expect from it. I can say that I was pleased after hearing what was on the piece. I’m extremely meticulous and I’ll listen to every little detail of a song–especially the lyrics. I thought that for the level that Randy is on right now, he did an excellent job with producing an all-around, solid project.
The tape seemed to have an underlying theme of him trying to break from the surrounding mediocrity of his peers and a consistent motivation to move himself and his crew to higher levels. Randy seems to have a lot that he wants to prove to, not only himself, but the world. He wants to show us that he’s a rapper that will one day march along with the elite members in the rap game. His ultimate goal is touring the world with his crew right beside him every step of the way.
Randy starts the project out with a song called “Everything I am” that demonstrates what rap means to him. It presents itself with a one-way ticket to being the greatest rapper that he can be. He starts off talking about sleepless nights and what he puts into his craft. He talks about the American dream that he’s after and how high he wants to take himself over everyone else. But he wants to do that while maintaining his integrity as an artist and as a person.
That song was a great intro to a tape that gave much of the same message. He’s doing what he loves, and at the end of the day you can’t help but respect that type of grind.
The song that spoke to me the most was “Unforgettable”. The beat on the song was classic and the Muhammad Ali sample at the end will get almost anyone hype. But Randy starts the song off with this line:
“I swear to God I want this thing more than anything, ever. I put my soul in this shit, they said to do better. Well how the hell you gonna tell me what I feel isn’t real while I’m surrounded by these bottles and reasons to pop pills?
And I think that’s a message that most people can relate to. There are always going to be people who ask you why you want to do what you want to do, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. If it’s what you love to do, then it’s what you should do. And Randy put that message out plain as day on the track in so many words. And at the end, he says his only thought is whether or not it’s good enough. That shows that there is an incentive for him to improve still, and that’s what you look for in the rappers who aspire to be great.
As far as the production goes, Randy spits to multiple classic beats with a few different cadences and changes to them. There was “Dead Presidents”, “Keep it Real”, “Life’s a Bitch” and various others. Of course, Randy isn’t the legendary artist that Jay, Nas and Miilkbone were at the time of their releases, but I think he holds his own on each track.
There’s songs for everyone on the tape, too. You like when beats cry? Well “No Worries” is for you. You like to party hard? I’d recommend “Molly Cyrus”. In the mood for love stories? You’d probably want to listen to “The other Woman”. Randy made sure to include various tracks on this tape and stepped out of his comfort zone in order to please the ear. And I’d have to say that he did a pretty good job.
Randy P will be a name that you hear soon enough. Just wait.
If you want to check out Randy’s tape, you can download it here.