Larry June & The Alchemist – The Great Escape: Review

Within Rap music, we have artists with the viscosity to deliver many projects throughout a 12 Month span. There’s Curren$y, Boldly James, Papoose, Termanology, and G Perico, to name a few, but on the opposite end of the LA coast where G Perico hails from, there’s Larry June from the Bay area of California. Entrenched within soulful vibes, it becomes a guiding principle that boasts the production’s eventual turns as we get hints of refined melancholic sounds, which places a board for June to deliver visceral lyricism akin to his world. That’s what we get with the resoundingly beautiful The Great Escape, an album collaboration with famed Hip-Hop producer The Alchemist. Considering the hype behind both artists, it’s safe to say that the album delivers and then some; it keeps a smooth vocal cadence throughout, immersing the listener within the transparent sounds that push the writing to the front. It fits within June’s repertoire of music that follows a similar aesthetic; however, between less engaging choruses, there is so much to love about the album, especially Alchemist’s production.

As it opens to the sounds of rain crashing against the window in calming fashion, horns begin to blare as the percussion subtly forms, and that’s when Larry June comes in and flows fiercely and seductively. It’s a robust strength of his as he brings a slight casualness to his reflections of life, noting his own stigma with distrusting banks and reminding us to do our taxes appropriately; it shifts the luxurious content which shines like the cars and watches June flexes to something more rounded. Like the artists mentioned, June is part of a collective where the subjects can overlay from album to album, but his creativity has shown us a consistent shift in delivery. For example, he raps about the fundamentals of saving and hustling on “89 Earthquake,” named after the famous Earthquake during the 1989 World Series. The music speaks to common topics relayed through varying artists; however, June keeps it straight and humbling, never fully taking on excess as a means of having it all. Instead, he’s seeing it as this plus where he can spend time buying over $1,000 worth of candles at the Palisades in California. 

Larry June’s lyrical content is reminiscent of Jeezy in the late 00s, where we’d hear him flex while retaining a sense of accordance with minor laws, like speeding, so he could enjoy what he’s showing to the fullest without setbacks. One example that comes to mind is Jeezy’s verse on “I’m So Hood Remix,” where he flexes his expensive luxurious whip while reminding us he doesn’t speed or use tints, which turns into less hassling from police enforcement. Though June is far from that, he’s one to keep it genuine in between feeling enriched with his success. There’s “Summer Reign,” where June notes how a true man looks to keep pushing toward success while remaining true to their family. As the first verse closes, we see this incredible parallel where taking chances can take you as June raps, “Spendin’ money on assets for rainy days/I’m more focused on ownership, not the fame/Grab an oolong tеa, then jump in this thing/We just touched down, but right back on thе plane.” It shows this sense of fiscal responsibility and comfortability. 

It’s captivatingly relaxed, and with its lyrically explosive nature, the nuances of life and humbling successes have compelling depth. June keeps it so that the balance between lyrical content never teeters too far to each side. Going through the music, you get enough to understand the depth beneath these fantastic braggadocio tracks, like “Porsches In Spanish” or “Barragán Lighting” featuring Joey Bada$$ & Curren$y. Sometimes you’ll hear him talking about the hustle on “Left No Evidence” or reflecting on how some anecdotes and notions amongst musical mutuals aren’t the same as before with “What Happened To This World?” It’s one of the two Wiz Khalifa features of the weekend, and for both, the verses are fantastic, especially on the June verse, as he flows over production with the nostalgia of that Kush & OJ flows. And as it continues to formulate and deliver, it’s mesmerizingly smooth from front to back, making some of the lesser choruses blend in to create a more seamless listen-through.

It’s all boasted by The Alchemist’s production, which brings a fundamental understanding of June’s style, assimilating and pushing boundaries to let particular instruments shine amongst the base percussion. We get the string sections of “Exito,” bridging guitar with classical, which slightly becomes reminiscent of folk music or the bridging boom-bap of “Orange Villiage,” June’s track with Slum Villiage. He brings sheer brilliance, opening the floodgates for June and the featured artists to take command and deliver with their distinct sense of greatness. It rounds out an excellent album that will see heavy rotation in the summer breeze. It fits the summery aesthetic and more, but beyond that, it’s a beautifully coordinated and written album you’ll find more than just the aesthetic to love. 

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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