by Eric Hunter
Frisco’s finest Larry June partners up with the legendary producer, Alchemist, to release a musical masterpiece called “The Great Escape.” Larry June comes straight out of Bayview Hunters Point. He got the game directly from the original Hip Hop pioneers of this region like Black C of RBL Posse and Herm Lewis of Black Power Productions. Alchemist is one of the architects of the raw, rugged boom-bap East Coast style of beats. Together they created a smooth blend of vintage 70s R&B vibe. It’s like Jazz meets Funk.
“The Great Escape” album has a cinematic style to it like a soundtrack to a 007 espionage movie. Alchemist raps on a few of the songs, which is a big deal because he rarely gets on the mic, and he really doesn’t have to because he’s an iconic producer. His lyrics are dope though. It kind of caught me off-guard.
I mean he’s been working with emcees like Mobb Deep, Jadakiss, and Nas, I guess some of those skills must’ve rubbed off on him. Larry June came with his signature smooth delivery as he narrated the storyline of each song painting lyrical pictures in deep definition and detail. The beats complement the flow, you can tell it was chemistry in their creativity. They displayed a high level of versatility by catering to each other’s style while maintaining their own unique aesthetic.
The theme of this album can have multiple meanings. It could be the story of an extravagant vacation. It can be about getting out of the way to duck the feds. The concept of getting out of the dope game and going legit is expressed in this story. This is a narrative that is rarely promoted in gangsta/trap rap. Anybody can relate to the necessity of making a great escape to relax, retreat and recharge.
Larry June has branded and trademarked the “very peaceful,” “Organic,” and “healthy” lifestyle. It’s on his merchandise. It’s in the music and the messages in every other bar he spits. In a culture where mainstream rappers glamorize drug use, he flaunts the health hype and I think that’s dope. There is a lot of motivational and inspirational content in these songs. He talks about investing in real estate, fatherhood and everyday life.
My favorite song on the album is “Margie’s Candy House,” He takes it back to Harbor Rd in Hunters Point San Francisco and pours his heart out about his upbringing. The beat is very soulful. I give the album an overall 9/10. According to Billboards Chart data: “The Great Escape” is Larry Junes highest charting album on the Billboard 200, surpassing his last album “Spaceships On The Blade.”
The album would be complete 10 if there were at least one track he attacks the system, on even the smallest level. There isn’t a song denouncing the police or the racist politicians because it’s way too much gentrification, colonization, police terrorism and homelessness in the Bay area to not have at least one song that exposes the enemies that exploit the Black communities across the globe. However, the messages in the music are authentic, creative and innovative.
Larry’s Market Run Tour is in Full Effect! Tickets are sold on Larryjune.org/Tour.
Journalist Eric Hunter (E Da Ref), an Oakland native, is Minister of Public Relations for the Black Riders Liberation Party and Co-Editor of African Intercommunal News Service. He writes for Black New World Media and the SF Bay View’s Oakland Bureau headed by JR Valrey. Hunter can be reached at email@example.com.