Changing levels x Breaking Standards x Elevating all

06 - 29 - 2016

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On Friday June 24, rapper Jevon Doe released his album “Story Of My Life.” The rapper, who’s from Houston, Texas, is signed to Atlantic Records.

“Story Of My Life” features 11 songs, including the opening eponymous one. Sonically, on this song you can hear the influence from the Notorious B.I.G., while his lyrical flow is similar to Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, two of his other influences. “Story Of My Life” is brutally honest, in a way that you almost wouldn’t expect. Whereas a lot of rappers today count “being honest” as less-than-clever lyrics layered with an overplayed club hook, Jevon Doe spits his truth.

This opening song is an introduction to Jevon Doe as a person and as a rapper, a lyrical autobiography. “Story Of My Life” explores all the obstacles and doubt (both self-inflicted and otherwise) Jevon Doe has experienced on his journey to the present. Playing to one of his other influences, Drake, Jevon Doe effortlessly moves between rapping and singing to emphasize the range of emotions that colored his experiences.

Whereas “Story Of My Life” is a quick overview of his life’s journey, the follow-ups “Had To” and “Had To Pt. 2” are more in-depth looks at some of the struggles Jevon Doe glossed over in the album’s opening song. The former details his familial struggles, and how he worked past them – and also to an extent, embraced them – in order to make his dream a reality. “Had To” is appropriately about all the things he had to do, sacrifice and overcome in order to get where he is now, another brutally honest and moving track from the rapper.

“Had To Pt. 2” opens with an eerie dialing tone that’s never answered, coupled with a beat reminiscent of Jamaican steel drums. On this track – one of my personal favorites – Jevon Doe sounds beautifully similar to Big Sean in his rhythm, though the lyrics are all his own. Composed as a scathing voice mail to whoever failed to pick up the phone, “Had To Pt. 2” is a continuation of what Jevon Doe had to give up to reach his current status. With a soft, funky bass contrasted by his quick, slightly frustrated sounding flow, the rapper describes his ongoing and often lonely grind.

JD in post

The seventh track on the album, and another standout, is “Don’t Worry.” Sonically, the song starts off sounding like a ballad, with a soft and lilting piano. It then leads into more upbeat music and Jevon Doe happily proclaiming “boy, don’t worry ’bout it.” However, the genius in this song lies in the realization that the rapper is speaking to himself, whether it be his past self that went through a tough time, or his present self, realizing his dream and trying to maintain it. The song is an eerie and heartbreaking look into Jevon Doe’s internal monologue as he analyzes his dismal situation and the ways he’s going to change it. The piano continues throughout the track, switching between distressing and positive to match the scope of emotions of the song.

The penultimate song on the album is the triumphant “Goodluck/Goodbye,” which to me embodies the musical equivalent of Rocky reaching the top of the stairs outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “Goodluck/Goodbye” is a musical and lyrical kiss-off to Jevon Doe’s doubters. The song is reflective, as he explores the ways in which his relationships with the people around him have evolved parallel to his career. The music for this song features a background piano, deep bass, rising backing vocals and wandering, upbeat notes. Lyrically, Jevon Doe discusses his realization that he’s seeing the fruits of all his hard labor with the release of this album.

Overall, Jevon Doe’s “Story Of My Life” is one of the most truthful releases to date. He doesn’t rely on club hooks – not even on the songs featuring more prominent rappers such as Ty Dolla $ign and Bun B. Jevon Doe’s genius is in his honesty about the not-always-pretty journey he took to get to this release. Listen to the entirety of “Story Of My Life” below.

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Changing levels x Breaking Standards x Elevating all