Bar Exam: Joe Ayinde – Euphoria (Album)

A One Listen Album Review

As we wind down for the end of the year, I’ve begun to compile my end of the year lists and look forward to 2019 and all of the possibilities there. Joe Ayinde just dropped his new album “Euphoria” and it requires a bar exam. “Penny Fore My Thoughts” dropped just over a year ago and as an introduction for me, it was a pretty good showing. I’m curious to see what Joe’s got up his sleeve for this new project.

Everfall“Euphoria. Do you know how to get there?…” Wr press play on big bass, and a basic drum beat. There’s a very catchy hook to kick things off. Joe begins with a melodic flow. This is soooo dope. Lyrical gymnastics, and switches up the flow effortlessly. He’s got a tenacity to his performances that he backs up with a laid back easygoing persona. This first verse is absolutely masterful, and it’s most of the song. It’s somewhat of a hook sandwich, starting with a hook, flow in the middle, ending on the hook. If he stays at this level for 10 tracks we’ll have a masterpiece on our hands.

“The church says facts/I’mma give em proof/all I do is win baby I don’t ever lose”

Ooze – Bro this beat slaps too. It’s so refreshing to hear someone just bring bars at a high level. The charisma is dripping off of this song. From the swagged out beat to the talent on the mic I’m slack jawed through the first six minutes of this album.

Yes Indeed – Once again Joe comes at us with a confidence laden flow. The instrumental bed here is full of chimes, and sounds pretty unique. Man… with the heat he’s blowing on these tracks I’m not sure this music matters. It’s already been a terrific year for CHH, this one is causing me to rethink my top 10 lists and mourn the end of 2018 all at once.

“I got too much on the line I got too much on my shoulder/I’mma hold it down until its over”

Aladino – This beat is southern, like suicide doors and swangers. He comes at it at a rapid pace and brings his same personality and certainty. I’m so impressed by the choices he makes within his flows. Some rappers can choose a certain pitch for their voice and keep it there for an entire song, Joe switches tone and pitch so easily it makes for a delightful listen.

Count – This is a call to stay persistent and believe that God is at work in your life. The bass line here is bangin, and it’s woven in between a simple synth vibe that keeps momentum moving through the song. There’s legitimately no flow Joe can’t pull off. He goes with a spelling bee flow here and it’s terrific. This is probably the simplest track on the album, but a good break from the other sounds present here.

136 – We’re elevated once this bass drops. I’m floating. The beat here is pretty intricate, has some trap influences on it, but it builds better than typical trap. Joe’s flow here bobs and weaves in between the beat laying punches much like a veteran boxer. I truly feel like Joe is bringing all he has on every track. We’re listening to a man’s soul. I think this approach will pay off. This album is nearly perfect so far.

Pacman – The beat is rolling, the hook here at the top is catchy. The ad-libs throughout are on point. The mix here is so captivating my ears follow each little extra ingredient and are soothed as if the music is full of medicine.

Ransom – The music bed here is thick. It’s got a lot of melodic pieces that move separately from each other but still work hand in hand. He’s got a melody he’s weaving over the top right here. It’s a love song, and once you think he’s only coming with the melody he drops a flow. The way the instrumental pulls layers back and lets the beat drop back in here is dope.

Merry Go Round – I’m so stoked about this music, I missed most of my listening to this track because I was texting people telling them to go get this album, stream it right now. Honestly the beat on this one sounds familiar, but once again he chooses another flow from his bag of tricks and gives us some pauses, then ends up with triplets. Again the background vocals and ad-libs are flawless.

Euphoria – There’s a swing to the beat on this one. Did he actually just do this? Is this the perfect album? Like I can’t compare this track to the others because it’s different but just as good… I don’t think that makes sense.

This album has everything. Great production, clever raps, catchy hooks, beautiful melodies, and positive concepts. It’s concise, coming in at 30 minutes. The pacing and the handoff from track to track is seamless, everything is great. Calling this album “Euphoria” is a bit of an understatement. This is more like a dreamland of hip-hop albums, and you don’t get here easily. I am usually super critical in small spots even on good albums, and I must be bugging too hard to think, but I don’t have anything to say.

Overall Rating: Above The Bar