Rod Wave continues to shine by making “sad-ass” music.





5. Fight The Feeling

“Fight The Feeling” will remind you of the days when you were in the “middle of a club crying to a love song.”

Who the f**k is making onion soup in the trap? In “Fight The Feeling,” a track that boasts this emotional beat filled with touching piano keys and slight trap vibes, Rod Wave sings passionately about the myriad of emotions that come with going to the club with a broken heart. As someone who has gone to LIV after a breakup, I can admit that Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” almost had me reaching for my dusty-ass drink napkin.

A peak Rod Wave experience is when he repeats s**t over and over again. I love it when he continuously says, “now you’re in the middle of a club crying to a love song” in “Fight The Feeling.”



4. Checkmate 

Revenge never felt so gentle.

In “Checkmate,” Rod Wave speaks on the emotional turmoil he deals with on a daily basis, which has led to everything from substance abuse to feelings of vengeance. He also calls out a chick he f**ked with that has caused tons of anger in him.

“Checkmate” is powered by a gentle, 700-Club-ass trap beat. Over it, we get a good mix of soothing vocals and hard-hitting raps out of Rod. But, on the real, what I like most about this song is the intoxicating hook and raw feel.

Does anybody else close their eyes and smile after hearing Rod say, “I’ma pay you back for that one” repeatedly?



3. Back Lit

Rod Wave breaks free from the norm and excels in “Back Lit.”

In “Back Lit,” Rod Wave channels his inner Lil Baby by choosing to rap over a beat that the popular Atlanta rapper would kill, and a splash of Kevin Gates with the style of rapping he chooses to employ (I hear Gates particularly when Rod says “grinding for real.”). At the end of the day, kudos must go to Rod for creating a hook that is unbelievably catchy, a style of singing/rapping that switches between sounding gritty and dismissive, and meaningful lyrics that seem to emphasize how money can make you happier than anything else can (I’m OK with him contradicting himself here).  

This might be the first Rod Wave track you can legitimately play in the club.



2. Rap Beef

This is Rod Wave’s version of Kendrick Lamar’s “Element.”

In “Rap Beef,” Rod Wave reflects on his journey from a challenging past to a more thriving present. He also dismisses weak-ass rappers and people who want to throw dirt on his name. 

What’s hilarious about this song is how left s**t turns as it plays on. Rod starts it off on some positive s**t, speaking on all the things he’s done for the people around him. By the end of the song, he continuously says “I came to kill the game, stand over and shoot” over and over again. 



1. 2018

I think “2018” might be Rod Wave’s most impressive track. My GOD, I got chills listening to this s**t.

First and foremost, the touching beat combined with the emotional pop vocals from featured guest Sadie Jean is absolutely beautiful (I don’t know who Sadie is, but she deserves her respect for what she was able to do here). As for Rod Wave, I f**k with how he asserts himself in the song, hitting us with deep bars about the complexities of success and the sacrifices made along the way.

This song is not great because of Rod Wave, but I definitely think he doesn’t f**k s**t up at all (Sometimes, that’s all you need to do to make a hit). 


1. Nostalgia (4/5)

2. Long Journey (4/5)

3. Call You Friends (4/5)

4. HG4 (3/5)

5. Come See Me (3.5/5)

6. Crazy (3/5)

7. Love For A Thug (4/5)

8. Checkmate (4/5)

9. Fight The Feeling (4.5/5)

10. Turks & Caicos (Ft. 21 Savage) (3.5/5)

11. Boyz Don’t Cry (3.5/5)

12. Pass You By (3.5/5)

13. Great Gatsby (4/5)

14. Keep It G (4/5)

15. Love Story/Interlude (4/5)

16. Rap Beef (4.5/5)

17. Back Lit (4.5/5)

18. 2018 (5/5)




Rod Wave knows precisely how to make my soul hurt. 

I will say what everyone else thinks but is afraid to say: Many of Rod Wave’s albums sound the same. He has a formula that he relies on: Emotional production paired with passionate vocal performances and vulnerable lyrics. One thing that is different about Nostalgia, however, is how Rod’s words hit. Now that he is a pretty famous hip-hop artist, it feels very honest and authentic when he tells us throughout the album that money and fame don’t make pain disappear. He also tackles relationships from a slightly more mature angle than in the past. In other words, I see growth as a person from Rod here.

Another thing that makes Nostalgia a little different from Rod Wave’s prior albums is that he has a lot more moments in which he hits us with competitive lyrics. I loved hearing him assert his dominance in songs like “Rap Beef” and “Back Lit.” I also enjoyed hearing him almost sound like he was on a well-needed vacation in “Turks & Caicos” with 21 Savage.

I feel like Rod Wave experiments with different kinds of instrumentals on this album, which is another reason Nostalgia is different from his other albums. Yeah, we get your typical 700 Club trap beats, but we also get Lil Baby-like beats, Noah “40” Shebib-type beats, and lively beats. We needed Rod to get his experimenting on like this to prove he is versatile.

If I didn’t convince you that Nostalgia is different from Rod Wave’s prior albums, I’ll tell you this: I believe you can never get tired of an artist pouring their heart out on the mic. Rod does that here, and I actually appreciate every second of it.

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