Buddy isn’t the most flashy or exuberant rap name in the world, and neither is his music, but by-golly, I love his artistry with all my heart! Seriously, his style seems so raw/natural hair without a day of relaxer put on it, that I can’t help but pay my respects to him. If you are a real one like myself, you’ll find yourself saying “AMEN” to his lyrical content more than you do to a preacher during Easter service. If you aren’t a real one, you gon’ learn today, because “Harlan and Alondra” promises to be a body of work that is uncomfortably deep and refreshingly heartwarming.
5. REAL LIFE
”Real Life” starts the project off, and it gets straight to the point of what it’s all about: Finding a way to make it past the struggles of living in the ghetto, staying true to thyself, and most importantly, assessing what’s good and bad for the human soul.
On his verses, Buddy gets as introspective as you would want him to get, tackling his thoughts with great aggression and emotion. On the hook, you get a good amount of soul, as our hero opts to keep things simple with a few la la la’s. All in all, this was the perfect way to open the album up, to me.
4. TROUBLE ON CENTRAL
“Trouble In Central” falls in line with “Shine” and “Find Me.” It is smooth as hell, vintage sounding, and has Buddy doing a little bit of storytelling about the town he grew up in.
For the most part, you get a tamed version of singing from our hero throughout — a style I really like for him. You also get some very susceptible lyrics from him, too, in which he plays that one paranoid dude that wants to make it home safe in the shaky environment of South Central. Overall, I like the songs simplicity and lonely feel.
“Trippin’” features two artists that are sorta cut from the same cloth.
“Trippin'” is interesting: It’s a spirited banger, but contains a weird mix of both reckless and emotional thoughts. Buddy raps aggressively on it, bragging and boasting about meaningless s**t (smoking and drinking with the homies,. but I can see through the facade.
While I usually like Buddy when he sings instead of raps, I’m OK with him leaving all of the singing duties on this song to Khalid. As expected, Khalid’s soulful voice adds this struggling sound to the song, successfully making you feel like that last glass of wine you took before you hopped in the uber was a poor decision to make.
2. HEY UP THERE
I love the topic behind this song! It’s about going through the grind of being a music artist and looking forward to ultimately blowing up. The track has a feel-good vibe to it — boasting this sunny instrumental — while Ty and Buddy both provide the song with some pretty inspired bars revolving around their success and putting that success in our faces so we can get jealous. Overall, I love the melody, animation and positive energy attached to the track.
Buddy is the first person to ever beat Ty Dolla Sign on a song.
Personally, “Shine” is one of my favorite songs of all time! Forget that it has this timeless feel or the fact that our hero sings passionately and raps forcefully on it, pay attention to the simple yet powerful s**t that he’s saying throughout his verses. In a nutshell, he talks about standing tall despite the negativity around him. Now I know that topic sounds basic (or even cliche), but the exuberance/spirit that Buddy was able to deliver through his vocals made his words sound divine like s**t, to me.
This song feels like a gospel record, to me.
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. REAL LIFE S**T (4.5/5)
2. SHAMELESS (4.5/5)
3. BLACK (4/5)
4. HEY UP THERE (5/5)
5. LEGEND (N/A)
6. TROUBLE ON CENTRAL (4.5/5)
7. THE BLUE (3.5/5)
8. SPEECHLESS (4.5/5)
9. YOUNG (3.5/5)
10. TRIPPIN’ (5/5)
11. FIND ME 2 (4/5)
12. SHINE (5/5)
In this day in age where we have to deal with shaky politics, questionable decision-making by our so-called role models and a McDonalds without H.I.C., Buddy offers a glimmer of hope that we are still ordinary people. He’s the definition of an artist that knows his weaknesses — even using them to his advantage both vocally and lyrically. For this exact reason, I think people will f**k with this album. Like I said in the intro, Buddy’s music is plain white rice, but sometimes plain white rice can be one of the best things on the plate if it’s surrounded by overly seasoned meat or dry ass broccoli. With that being said, this hip hop industry has becoming overly seasoned, and cot damnit, I’m in need of some plain white rice! Ok, Ok, so what does that mean for the album musically? It means that Buddy gave us some pretty careful singing and ordinary rapping on it, but relied more so on feel-good/heartfelt vibes and relatatebility to draw us in. How in the f**k can you get mad at that?
Part of the reason this album has some very infectious vibes is because of the production on it. It’s pure, effortless-sounding, and unlike the s**t you hear on the radio today, distinct. At times, it feels like Buddy is a slave to it, but at other times, he snaps out of the beat’s hypnosis to deliver some inspiring s**t. I obviously like when Buddy snaps out of the beats hypnosis.
I guess I have to say something negative about this album, right? (The world loves negative) For every reason this album is good, I can see someone thinking it’s bad. I mean, if you’re expecting some crazy punchlines or wacky ad-libs, this album isn’t for you. If you’re expecting to play this album in various settings like the gym or a candy factory, it’s definitely not for you. The album practically has one sound, and in this day and age, our attention spans really struggle with one sound s**t. If you aren’t willing to enter into Buddy’s world of basic thoughts, you won’t enjoy this project.
When I think of a debut album, this is what I expect it to sound like. I expect passion, I expect blood, sweat and tears going into it, and I expect the artist to stay in their lane. For his second album, those expectations should change, and because of that, put your arms around this album and squeeze it as tight as you can.