In his first studio album since 2016, Jay Park takes us for a ride down his ‘Road Less Traveled’. With 15 tracks that present us with an array of hip hop styles alongside some exciting collaborations, this album is definitely one to talk about. Some songs on the album have a Lo-Fi, reminiscent tone, with a warmth to them that is perfect for a summer evening. Other tracks pack the heat, with a catchy trap flow and powerful lyrics that ignite a fire in all who listen to them.
In songs like ‘Legacy’, Jay Park presents an air of sincerity in the way that he tackles subjects such as politics and racism. Not only does this track delicately handle some difficult topics, it presents a lyrical prowess in English that had only really been associated with Park’s Korean lyrics. This album shows Jay Park exploring his western roots and actively taking part in important discussions, such as racism in America. This is clearly shown in some of his verses, as you can see in:
‘NFL black listing Kaepernick
‘Cause he took a knee, what type of f*** s*** is that?
And who do we trust?
Man, I ain’t even black
I just think it’s unjust’
In discussing these topics, Park is promoting hope in the face of difficulty and encouraging peace for the sake of the ‘legacy’ that follows us.
In the track ‘What’s Up!’, Park talks about the modern obsession with pop culture and social media, with lyrics such as
‘Just think you can make money but a life you can’t make that back
Want that 15 minutes and more followers on Instagram
So you sell your soul not realizing that it’s all a fad’
In this song, it is clear that Park is promoting awareness in his fans, to not get so caught up in the rush of the media and to appreciate life to the fullest, rather than through a screen. Not only does ‘What’s Up!’ carry this important message to his audience, it also gives his fans an insight into his inspiration as a hip-hop artist. In this song, he talks about many elements of popular culture, discussing the influence of both Korean and American culture on his music, as he raps about ‘repping AOMG, H1GHR MUSIC, Seattle 2 Seoul, Roc Nation, Art of Movement’ as well as famous western artists such as Drake and Pusha T. It is clear that both the Korean and American cultures inspire the way that he approaches his lyrics and the hip-hop genre.
Though there are many good songs on this album, this is not to say that it is flawless. Some songs do fall short. Tracks such as ‘Ben Baller’ and ‘Feng Shui’ lack the lyrical complexity or addictive hooks of some of the songs that I have mentioned in this article. I was very surprised to find out that ‘Feng Shui’ was one of the title tracks, being released with a music video alongside the album. Though this does not take away from the fact that this album overall is a superb display of Jay Park’s capability as both a rapper and a songwriter. With most songs packing a catchy flow and poignant lyrics, ‘The Road Less Traveled’ is a must-listen for this summer.