|Drankin' & Drivin' by Z-Ro|
On Friday, July 15, Houston Screwed Up Click artist Z-Ro (Joseph McVey) released his nineteenth studio LP, Drankin' & Drivin' (1 Deep Entertainment), one year after his last, Melting The Crown (Feb 2015), but he would have been better off had he took a year off from releasing anything to gain some more perspective on life.
With the exception of 2013, the constantly working Z-Ro has released an album every year since 2000, and as of late it seems like it might have been a detriment more than a help. While he's continued his special style of rapping with a melodic tongue ad infinitum, he has essentially been doing the same thing every year for all this time when he ought to take a break to smell the roses of world affairs, take a foray into different subject matter and rap about the outside world external to his small network of connections, for a temporary change at very least.
One of hip-hop's most unique vocalists, Z-Ro still has a interesting song-structured technique when he spits, but over too familiar beats in Drankin' & Drivin', he has once again voluntarily pigeonholed himself to the topics of hater-hating (a big one for him), self-adulation, and dough over art. Concerning the last, Z-Ro makes the disturbing confession in "New Shit" that if we don't like the music he's making now, we can just "go back to his old shit" and that he doesn't make music to make good history in the culture but rather to make good money in the business.
Anyone can understand what he means by that, but after all the retail projects he's put out in the past, one would hope that he'd have some savings from them socked away to reasonably make at the bare minimum one investment in wise conscious issues meant to spark positive enlightenment in listeners, rather than more superficial rap. Z-Ro has given away no clues that he is about do any such thing in the future.
Following the less than savory outcomes of The Crown (2014) and then Melting The Crown, Drankin' & Drivin' has gotten Z-Ro in an even more destructive accident this time around. By sticking to the same boring formula of negative victimized grievances that he's applied to his music his whole career, he hasn't grown or evolved as an artist or person at all here. Z-Ro no doubt has nice talent and skill, but for optimal results in the game, he needs to find some more sanity, strive to live comfortably instead of opulently comfortably, connect the dots in life, understand the underlying economic causes of his problems and then most importantly, rap on much smarter speaking points than those we get in this offering.
1 out of 5 stars