Year of The Savage

Growing up in with parents who listened to a variety of music, music became a big part of my life at a very young age. I remember listening to radio stations like Kiss 104.1 and V103 every day going to and from school. This really made me appreciate soul and R&B while still hearing current hip hop music. To this day, I can recognize the majority of music from the 70s, 80s and 90s because of the music played in car rides for about 18 years.

Currently, hip hop is my favorite genre, but I still love old school R&B. Because I have roots in New Orleans and Atlanta, I was very aware of the music coming out of both cities. Whether it was the Hot Boyz from New Orleans or Ludacris from Atlanta, I was fortunate to have family members to expose me to these types of rap.

In middle school, my music taste began expanding outside Southern hip hop. With applications like Limewire and Torrent, I was able to have hip hop from all regions at my fingertips. Throughout high school, I discovered how great and diverse hip hop is and began to listen to music from the East Coast, West Coast and the Midwest. I started to dive into the archives of Jay Z, OutKast and Goodie Mob, and realize their talent. As music slowly became internet based, I used different sites to explore new artists and new music from different regions. By the time I got to college, my library was filled with a diverse collection of music. Robb Bank$ was one of those artist that I discovered while browsing the internet.

Robb Bank$ has been buzzing around Internet blogs for a while, but the South Florida rapper made his first big entrance with his 2012 mixtape Calendars, and his fan base has been growing ever since. After consistently releasing mixtapes, fans of Bank$ were starting to get anxious about his first full length LP. After a long time coming, the first single of Robb Bank$ album Year of the Savage finally dropped in late 2014. When the EP 2phoneshawty dropped, the buzz around the album grew tremendously.

I actually had a chance to hear him perform this single in Washington, D.C. when he was touring with Sir Michael Rocks. After hearing “2Phoneshawty,” I knew Year of the Savage was coming soon, and was going to be on another level. It was a gritty, yet lyrical record that I had not heard from Bank$ before. You can hear the hunger and passion in his voice on this record. He wanted to let his audience know that he can be lyrical, but can also make a hard banger.

After releasing 2Phoneshawty and another EP, No Trespassing, the hype for Y.O.T.S. was at its peak. Robb Bank$ then released his single “Pressure.” This song really had me foaming at the mouth to hear Y.O.T.S. Robb Bank$ actually brought the pressure on this song. He debuted a new flow that was fast, unique and catchy. One of the lyrics that really stood out to me was “I still walk up and get boo’d like muthafuckin Maury Fuck whatever they on, repeat they self when they talk can't even convince yourself, bet god laughs at you often.” This song was the best he has put out to date. He used a new formula, but still brought intensity to the record. It was official, I knew Y.O.T.S. was going to be one of my favorite albums of 2015.

The album begins with Bank$ jokingly talking about the the release date of his long awaited debut LP. I appreciated the joke because it shows that he does not take himself too seriously, and has a sense of humor. In the next two tracks “Buku” and “Leatherface,” Bank$ plunges you into his dark world filled with violence, drugs, girls and partying. Although the production on these tracks were dim and dark, Bank$ raps witty lines accompanied by an intensity that creates a sound of its own. The same theme of hard-hitting head-nodders continues to the next couple tracks. Zaytoven makes a production appearance on the flossy “Chainswang” track. The album then enters a weird vibe on “Phone Sex” (featuring Lucki Eck$) and “Pink Pussy.” There are countless sexual innuendos and metaphors on these two tracks that are frankly quite X-rated. It sounded like Bank$ was sitting in a green light lounge on drugs when he recorded these two tracks.

He transitions back to life with a mosh pit anthem “Fuckumean” featuring Indigochildrick. This was his least impressive lyrical performance of the album, but once again the energy he brings makes up for the lack of lyricism. Robb Bank$ then ends the album with “2Phoneshawty” and “3D.” “3D” is his most sincere work of the project; he talks about his highs and lows as an artist and then ends with a sound bite of him discussing what delayed creating Y.O.T.S. - the strive for perfection. This sound bite was especially significant to the Bank$ fans who waited for the album, and reminded them that he knew that if this album was not his best work, his fan base would be extremely disappointed.

Bank$’s career is just getting started and his debut project came out with a bang. He showed his fans and the hip-hop community that he can create unique, quality sounds. His lyricism is not on the level of J. Cole or Kendrick, but that is the beauty of it. Bank$ says lines in Y.O.T.S. that Kendrick and J. Cole would not come up with either. The production on Y.O.T.S. is different from any other project in 2015, and Bank$ should be an artist to look out for in 2016. With his production, lyrical ability and overall energy, he should have a very long career in hip-hop and many more classic albums to come.

Jeff MillonComment