Say what you want about the state of Florida, but when it comes to rap music, it really seems like they have been at the cutting edge of Trap music and Hip Hop in general over the last few years. Recently, the state of Florida has produced some of the most polarizing rappers in Hip Hop, some of which have had a very big influence and effect on the Hip Hop game; rappers like Kodak Black, Ski Mask the Slump God, XXXtentacion, and YNW Melly all have had their own good and bad reasons for being the biggest thing in Hip Hop at the respective times that it happened, and they all have very distinct styles of rapping that have had major influences on the game as a whole in last couple of years. It seems like Florida is about to have another rapper break out into stardom with his own very unique way of making Hip Hop music; Rod Wave is the next Florida rapper that I believe is going to be at the top of the game very soon. His sound is so individual to him; there is really no one that sounds like this guy right now. Rod Wave’s music is like Kevin Gates meets TM:103 era Jeezy meets super melancholy Blue-Eyed soul music. Rod Wave has a beautiful singing voice that sound like no one else in the game right now; he honestly has as much passion and emotion in his music as Drake did on albums like Thank Me Later and Take Care. With all of that being said, here is how I feel about Rod Wave’s new record Pray 4 Love. Let me know in the comments below if you agree with how I feel about this record, and what your favorite songs on it are!
Never thought I’d see the day separate glitter from gold. When friends turn into foes, but it’s the life that I chose. And these hoes look so heaven-sent, but be so devilish. Got spiteful ways, never seen it coming like a tidal wave…
I do not think I have ever reviewed an album where the title track is the first track on the album, but I guess that is another way Rod Wave is not like anyone else. ‘Pray 4 Love,’ which was released as a single near the end of March, has a very somber and sad feeling to it that really sets the tone for this album; it is like Rod Wave is trying to make music with the lyrical sentiment of Emo-Trap and the overall sound of soulful R&B and psychedelic Trap music. ‘Pray 4 Love’ has this super sick guitar riff that sounds like something from an early 70s psych-funk song; I could see an artist like Sly and the Family Stone getting down to this melody back in the day. Rod actually starts out ‘Pray 4 Love’ rapping instead of singing, throwing anyone who only knows him for his viral ballad ‘Heart On Ice’ that came out last year for a loop. Lyrically, Rod is informing us of all the ways he has been screwed over by those around him. He prays for love from his mom, his friends, and the women in his life, because he truly always feels alone and that no one is there for him. This song is such an excellent way to get the listener engaged in the lyricism as much as the melody and sound. ‘Fuck the World,’ also has a super soulful and funky guitar riff that will just make you emotional for no reason. This track is less psychedelic-Rock sounding to me and more R&B sounding instead; right from the start of this record, Rod Wave is showing off how diverse he can me with his sound. ‘Fuck the World’ is the first song on this track where I would compare him to Kevin Gates; even though Kevin Gates makes a totally different and way more hard-hitting type of trap music, it is very easy to hear how Rod is influenced by the way Kevin Gates sings in his music. In ‘Fuck the World,’ Rod is trying to dream of a better world to live in because he is sick of being screwed over by the world he lives in right now. This is one of many instances on this record where Rod Wave seems like he is very lovesick. Following ‘Fuck the World’ we get the song ‘Thief In The Night,’ which was released as a single back in February. This track is the first one that does not have a funky guitar riff; it has a really sweet piano melody that reminds me of some of the acoustic R&B music from the mid-2000s. ‘Thief In The Night’ is a really cool track because the melody and overall instrumental are very low key and soft sounding, but the way Rod is rapping and singing is intense and gruff and hard-hitting. I really love how he can go from rapping super hard to singing like he’s in a 90s R&B group. The way he goes back an forth between rapping and singing on this track is so engaging and interesting; I do not know if I should be headbanging or crying while listening to this. Either way, ‘Thief In The Night’ is great and I will be listening to this one consistently for a long time.
‘Thug Life’ is the first song that is not so somber and sad, and it is the first song from this record that I feel like could be partied to. So far, this has definitely not been a party record, which is obviously okay, but it is nice to get this song as a buffer to bring the mood back up a bit. It is more upbeat, and although the melody still has a psychedelic funk sound to it that is similar to the first couple of songs, the beat and way Rod is rapping makes it seem a lot less lonely and sad. The next song, ‘I Remember,’ also has a very late 90s R&B vibe to it. In fact, this song almost straight up just feels like an R&B track with some basic trap Hi-Hats just slapped over it. I know that this is supposed to be a Trap album, but I honestly kind of wish they would have left the Trap beat off of it and given it a slow bass line to make it a straight-up R&B song because it probably would sound more natural that way. Based on the mood of the lyrics from the first three tracks from this record, it should not be tough to figure out what the mood of a song called ‘I Remember’ is. Once again, Rod is recapping all of the ways those around him have screwed him over; I really think he needs to surround himself with new people because its obvious the people from his hometown do not have his best interest in mind. Following this, we get this song ‘Rags to Riches,’ which features ATR Son Son, who has a super beautiful singing voice that one would not expect to come out of someone with that kind of name. This is probably the weirdest song on this record in my opinion; from the super sad-sounding piano melody that is the intro to the really hard chopped and screwed trap beat that kicks into the fluctuation from hard-ass rapping to singing from Rod, ‘Rags to Riches’ is totally different from the rest of the music on this record. It is a cool example of yet another way that Rod Wave can completely switch up his sound at any given time. Rod brings the tempo and energy back up a bit with song, ‘No Weakness;’ this is another track that has a very 90s R&B sounding melody to it with an upbeat Trap beat. On this track, Rod is singing about how he wonders if those around him even know how much they have hurt him in the past, and about how he can not let them see how much their actions have affected him. This track is another instance where Rod shows off how great of a singer he is; the notes that he is hitting throughout the coarse of this track are definitely not ones that you would expect from a rapper without auto-tune. This dude can really, really sing. I hope that other artists start giving this dude features in their music soon because he really could be the next Nate Dogg with how great of a singer he is.
‘Roaming’ has one of the more low key sounding instrumentals on this record; I appreciated the guitar riff and melody are not as very sad or melancholy sounding, because I feel like we really needed another buffer from how that sort of sound again after the last few tracks. One thing that I really appreciate about this song is how even though the melody and beat are pretty low key, the song still holds so much power and emphasis because of the way Rod raps and sings. I love how no matter what the instrumental sounds like, the focus is always on Rods rapping and singing because his sound is just so unique. Following this is ‘The Greatest,’ which is definitely a song that I could see taking off and being one of the most popular songs on this record. ‘The Greatest’ is the first song that has a more or a modern-sounding melody and does not sound as retro. The instrumental sounds like something that Guapdad 4000, Earthgang, or Smino would hop on; it is super jazzy and sweet and just sounds really good. On this track, Rod Wave is alternating from his Kevin Gates-style flow and his Southern Baptist choir-style singing; ‘The Greatest’ is one of the highlights from this record for sure. ‘Ribbon In The Sky’ is another Jazzy Trap joint that once again sounds like something artists like Smino or Chance would hop on. It is a bit slower and way more emotional than ‘The Greatest,’ though, and the vocal performance from Rod is mostly singing as opposed to the rapping from the previous track. On ‘Ribbon In The Sky,’ Rod is singing passionately about how he has no love in his life for those who have messed with him or screwed him over. He feels like he has no reason to forgive all of these people; they must have really done him dirty because he seems like a sweet and loving person for the most part from the way he talks and sings.
We smoke that dope back to back, got me floating. The only thing keep him going.
Now I know the answer, do dreams come true? Staring at the world through my rearview. Tint the windows, both the sides, the front and back…
‘5% Tints’ is another track that has a super sick psychedelic funk-rock sort of riff that drives the melody; I really like the melody for this track because this riff is just so catchy and great. ‘5% Tints’ is a moment on this record where Rod seems to be coming to terms with where he is at and who he is; he is recognizing that as good things happen to you and as your life improves from where it was, you have to let people go and not look back. He recognizes that his life is moving very fast and that sometimes he has to step back and appreciate how far he has come. The love bird in Rod Wave comes out in the next track, which is called ‘Girl of My Dreams.’ The instrumental for this one reminds me of the sort of R&B Trap music that artists like 6lack or Jacquees makes. ‘Girl of My Dreams’ is a really cool and sweet love track and is very good love-making music. ‘Thug Motivation’ has a very similar instrumental to the song that precedes it. It is kind of funny to me that a song with this title would have this kind of flow and sound, yet lyrically be about trapping and living the thug life. This song is so unique because I do not think there are any rappers out there right now that can go switch so easily from rapping hard to singly sweetly besides Drake. If I did not know this track is only by Rod, I would assume that the chorus is sung by a featured artist because it just sounds so different than the rapping. The album closes out with the song ‘Dark Clouds,’ which is another R&B tinted Trap song where Rod seems to be coming to terms with who he is and where he has made it in his life. This is another track where Rod’s vocals shine; like I keep saying, there are very few people who can sing with so much beauty and passion and rap within such a ferocious and intense way.
Rod Wave is one of the most interesting artists to hit the rap game in the last couple of years, and of course, he is from one of the most interesting states in the U.S., Florida. This guy has as good of a singing voice as anyone making R&B music right now and also is as hard a rapper as you are going to find as well. It is so cool how Rod Wave can switch up his sound so quickly and frequently within songs; like I said before, a bunch of these tracks sound like they have multiple artists on then because he is able to do this so well. Pray 4 Love is a very unique and interesting take on trap music from a very unique artist who will be making waves for a long time. Stream Rod Wave’s new record Pray 4 Love below and let me know what you think of it!