Iamsu!'s debut album "Sincerely Yours" is regrettably lacklustre in comparison to his previous work.
It only took one day for Iamsu!âs debut album, Sincerely Yours, to reach iTunesâ top album charts, a feat which is, quite frankly, surprising. Though the album is not a flop, itâs not a work of artistic genius either. There is nothing about this album that differentiates it from his previous seven albums, and many of the songs on it sound alike. The Richmond rapperâs previous mixtapes, Kilt II and Million Dollar Afro (featuring Problem) easily outshine Sincerely Yours in both depth and ingenuity, and while there are some singles, like âOnly That Realâ, that are solid bangers, the album on the whole doesn't leave much of an impression, unfortunately.
The production quality of the album is on point and the cover art is amusing, too. But if fans were expecting something new, or even inventive, from the HBK Gang member, theyâre going to be sorely disappointed. Compared to his other works, this album lacks intensity and comes across as glib and hasty. The over-amped club bangers are monotonous and the lyrics do little to make the songs stand out. There are a few wildcard tracks that are sprinkled conveniently at the end of the album, but though the change of pace is refreshing, they donât mesh cohesively with the rest of the work.
The album starts with an âIntroductionâ and there is both an âInterludeâ and âInterlude IIâ that follow later. They range in length from one minute and 40 seconds to two minutes and 40 seconds and all three of them have distinct choruses. This begs the question: what qualifies these tracks as introductions or interludes? Arenât they just regular olâ songs? They certainly donât mark shifts in the sonic flow of the album, so are they just songs that Iamsu! couldnât think of titles for? The ordering of songs is also a bit of a messâmore of a rollercoaster ride through various tempos and sounds, rather than a cohesive, smooth flow from one track to the next.
âIntroductionâ starts the album off on a dreamy, hazy note that is very much the sonic equivalent of the albumâs cover art. Itâs a new sound for Iamsu!, without even the slightest hint of hyphy, but itâs an odd choice for the first song since it does nothing to set the tone for the rest of the album. With the exception of âOnly That Real,â the first half of the album is a set of standard, sing-songy rap songs the likes of which you wonât hear at a party, but might listen to on your own at home. Songs like âGirlsâ and âNo Secretâ are unimpressive and easily forgettable, and even some of the better songs, like âSincerely Yours,â are so bogged down with sound effects that it makes your head hurt.Â
One of the strongest songs on the album is âStop Signs,â which is impressive both for its instrumentals and lyrics. Itâs one of the few songs in which Iamsu! spits fast and his rapid-fire vocals blend well with the slower beat and simple instrumentals. The double entendre chorus is also pretty clever: âI donât see no stop signs / When I see green I go.â
The middle tracks are where youâll find the outliers and more experimental songs on the album. âProblemâ is a summery, old school slap that sounds like something you might hear from Dom Kennedy or other So-Cal rappers. âAscensionâ is a bizarre mash up of rap and a conversation with a distressed female, and âMartinaâ is an instrumental heavy, slightly jazzy track with an underlying Indian-influence. All three of these tracks are clumped together, which seems to make sense considering as how they donât have anything in common with any of the other songs on the album, including each other.
As the album progresses, the pace picks up and the hyphy trickles through. Hereâs where youâll find the bangers with the boom and the base timed just right so that you can shake your booty while at the club. Theyâre typical Iamsu! tracks, with their references to the Bay and shout outs for his crew, even if they all start sounding the same after awhile. âT.W.D.Y.â is noteworthy if only for the fact that E-40 and Too Short have verses on the track, but the chorus (âWe the last of the realâ) is a pushing it a bit far. The album ends with âHipster Girlsâ (a bonus track), which is not a new song and thus a bit of a head scratcher. Since it was already released on Kilt II, itâs unclear why Iamsu! included it on this album, but maybe itâs a good thing that he did because it has all the wit and humor thatâs missing from the rest of the album.Â