Following a string of releases produced by some of rap’s finest producers, including Pete Rock and Apollo Brown, Brooklyn MC Skyzoo continues his consistently dope output with the release of his seventh studio album, All The Brilliant Things.
Once again backed by top notch production from an array of beat makers, the album’s flow is cohesive, tied together both sonically and by its introspective themes and lyrics. As the cover art suggests, All The Brilliant Things is a rumination on change, a reflection on gentrification and cultural appropriation, and an ode to Skyzoo’s childhood home of Bedford-Stuyvesant. An area of Brooklyn that’s given rise to some of rap’s most prolific talent, including the Notorious B.I.G. and Big Daddy Kane, Bed-Stuy has, like other inner-city neighborhoods around the country, faced intense redevelopment pressure and rapid gentrification in recent years.
Across the album, Skyzoo reflects on a changing Bed-Stuy, including on the powerful track “Bed-Stuy Is Burning” (featuring live instrumentation from Hypnotic Brass Ensemble) – a gentrification warning call for other cities – and “A Tour of the Neighborhood,” an introduction to Skyzoo’s Bed Stuy backed by a jazz-inflected beat. Other tracks find Skyzoo musing on the direction his career has taken (“I Was Supposed To Be A Trap Rapper”), the pitfalls of chasing wealth (“What Money Taught Us”) and dropping some braggadocious flows (“Humble Brag”).
While thematically All The Brilliant Things is tied together as a tribute to Bed Stuy, musically it’s united by deep grooves, most notably jazz and soul. Featuring iconic samples from Roy Ayers and Gap Mangione (to name a few), it’s a soulful listen through and through proving once again that Skyzoo really can’t miss.