‘All We Need’ is the first official album from Raury, a kid from Georgia who encompasses everything positive about his (our?) generation. This album fluctuates between being a Woodstock-era folk song for the Black Lives Matter movement and a Def poetry jam session for millennials. The opening track asks who will save the world my friend? And dives into an alternate universe of singing, guitar and rapping. From there, multiple tracks follow that could be the background music for a peaceful protest—but not without swag.
Some may say this is sad, but in 2015 the thing I notice most about Raury’s album is the guitar. The music marching his lyrics along features that classic instrument that we don’t hear enough of nowadays very heavily. It sounds refreshing, but yet the moments of electronic beats don’t sound any less fresh and catchy. Raury seems to give things a more synthetic quality when when he starts talking about the Internet or love, and keep it classic with instruments when he’s talking about the state of the world. I don’t know if this is intentional or even just something I am imagining, but it’s very fitting.
On “CPU,” and other songs, there’s clearly some auto tune going on, but somehow it still flows with the rest of the album. There are also moments when he falls back on straight drum beats to simplify the noise and add weight to his spoken words. On “Woodcrest Manor II,” there’s a piano moment. The way all of these elements work together to create a cohesive sound is exciting and innovative.
There’s nothing better than an artist who is clearly gifted at composing a new sound, and then proceeds to lay catchy, clever, and intelligent lyrics over it all. The way Raury achieves this feat reminds me of Jhene Aiko—and that’s a very high compliment from me.
Lyrically, “Forbidden Knowledge” is a standout track. It’s a lament about internet culture where BIG K.R.I.T.—one of only three featured artists on the album—delivers a stunning verse that proves Raury knows how to choose a guest artist. BIG K.R.I.T. opens the verse by asking, “who put the liquor store across the street from the gun shop?” If you consult Genius about this line, you find that the insightful young Raury himself commented, “This line made me go mentally deeper into thinking about how they put menthol cigarettes in some communities and put menthol-free cigarettes in other communities.” Comments like that paired with Raury’s clear musical talent make me excited to see what’s next for this blossoming artist. Till then I’ll be bumping this album on pretty much any occasion.
This review originally appeared on realworlddropouts.co.