Joey Purp – “iiiDrops” Review

“iiiDrops” is Joey Purps breakout tape. After moonlighting with guest appearances and side projects with his Save Money cohorts the past 2 years Joey has put together a singular body of work that fans can now point to the way they point to Acid Rap for Chance or Innanetape for Vic Mensa. Joey’s intensity on the album is at an all time high and is matched by Knox Fortune who oversees every track on the album as an executive producer while also creating the instrumentals for a large chunk of the songs as well. Leaving the album sounding as cohesive as a project as any SaveMoney member has ever put out, not saying it’s better than any of them, but I think from Morning Sex all the way through to Escape Joey Purps themes are very apparent. As an ode to Joey’s newest creation Fashionably Early has broken “iiiDrops” down track by track.

1 Morning Sex – the album starts with a soulful banger that is reminiscent of peak Jeezy or The Diplomats, but with a little more of an educated approach to the content. Although the subject matters are on fairly similar topics; enemies, animosity from others through following dreams, murder scenes, and the feeling of being exposed to a hostile environment (the hood).

“I’ll tell you how it feel to see a homocide” Purp bellows to anyone who’ll listen. Joey has always had a knack for telling a story while also playing a role in said story, he is our narrator and lead character, we see the world through the red watery eyes of a man who’s seen too much.

2 Girls featuring Chance The Rapper – “Girls” sounds like a Neptunes esque production that perfectly matches Joey’s stylish delivery and lyrics as well as Chance’s flamboyance. The frantic kicks that almost seem to fall over themselves at times and unpredictable arrangement by Knox Fortune keeps the track moving, making it a perfect dance jam. Purp talks about women who live a lavish lifestyle and describes their high priced tastes. Chance himself seems to be adding his own dynamic of smart girls who read books and aren’t your garden variety (though equally superficial) groupie.

3 Money & Bitches Ft Mick Jenkins – “I ain’t been to church in a minute”. Purp describes the godless lives many of us live. In the modern world practically everyone is a heathen. We aspire to superficial desires and symbols of status. Mick Jenkins comes in over the filtered beat and claims that he’s coming for any rapper “signed to a label”. “Only linear equations, be straight”, Mick is dropping the mathematics of what it’s like to pursue your own path rather than that of a label rapper who sells their soul for a couple hit singles. The instrumental is another soulful early 2000s sounding track with a cool horn leading the melody.

4 WHEN I’M GONE Ft. Teddy JacksonThe Gift produced this bass heavy track that is very muddy and percussion centric. Perfect for Purps rapid fire delivery. Teddy Jackson comes in to puncture Joeys verses with the refrain “all I wanna know is what you gone’ do when i’m gone”. The song is a testament to all the work that has been put in and all the people who have overlooked it before Purp could reach a place of relevance. A common theme on the tape is perseverance and working to a point where people can recognize your hustle.

5 Photobooth – The biggest thing that separates iiiDrops from previous works such as The Purp Tape is the pure energy that Joey attacks the beat with. Always right on the border of screaming into the mic, his lyrics remind me Kendrick’s “Hol’ Up” and Section.80 in general due to the rapid fire delivery that just seems to never stop. The beat also never stops switching up and is another perfect candidate to play at a function. The track was produced by GARREN who may have won the title for craziest beat on the tape, led by a whacky horn, bass filled kick drums, strings and whatever else his imagination can conjure. My description can’t even do the beat justice, you just gotta listen to it.

6 Cornerstore Ft. Saba & TheMIND – This is a straight up classic. No exaggeration one day people will look back on this song and remark on the time Joey and Saba went absolutely nuts lyrically, while also cross branding and enhancing each’s respective pursuit of national notoriety. Purp reminisces on his humble beginnings, i.e. “flaming hots & cheetos”, while Saba continues the theme adding his own dimension detailing how his grandparents sent him to private school so that he wouldn’t only know the downtrodden neighborhood that he lived in; they wanted him to have broader horizons. The songs message is one filled with hope and determination and is really quite inspirational. Thelonious Martins production is a beautiful horn led head knocker that calls to mind classic Master Ace.

7 Say You Do – Another Knox Fortune jam, “Say You Do” features claps, snaps, cymbals and a simple but effective kick pattern in the percussion and a funky piano that makes the tracks vibe very off kilter. Purp seems to be calling out a woman who says things that are the opposite of what she’s really thinking or intending. “You don’t love me like you say you do”. Exploring the relationship of groupies and bar life isn’t new in Hip-Hop but the fun edge Purp adds to this song sounds like a Kanye Westesque satire of things shallow superficial women do. Think “Drunk & Hot Girls”.

8 GODBODY – Thelonious Martin drops a soulful cut featuring a chopped up piano and what sounds like a drum break that is heavy in it’s cymbals which keep the pace beatifully. This is definitely a cut for the trunk of your car as Purp keeps the beat in an impressive manner that would make Rakim proud. Weaving in and out of the available pockets in the rhythm Purp sounds like a seasoned veteran with a vocal sample sandwiched in between to give him a second to breathe, the intensity in his delivery never budging an inch.

9 Kids – Purp turns to auto tune with a clear Future influenced delivery with the content touching on money and drugs and the hands they fall into. Stating “Kids and drugs (is) a bad combo”, Joey seems to be doing a commentary on a lifestyle while presenting it in the form of the usual auto tune codeine bars in hopes of reaching the intended audience: misguided youth who take Trap music at face value. Knox Fortune throws in a siren and an assortment of synths to keep the melody wavy and the drums are a page torn straight from Yeezus.
10 Winners Circle Ft. Vic MensaSmoko Ono and Thelo Martin share production duties on a synth led track that also features a soft high piano with drums that are so powerful they inspire the beats overall feeling of triumph. For the chorus the drums drop and the production showcases a somber mood. Vic Mensa sings the hook softly but while also firmly delivering one message: Vic and Joey have seen the bottom, so all the champagne tastes twice as good and they intend to keep it like that, forever.

11 Escape – With very similar drums to “Winners Circle” in terms of syncopation, The Gift ends the albums production on a high note, the backing vocals and sustained electric piano give the track a Rocky type ambiance. The video for this would definitely have to be Joey jumping rope and running up some stairs because it’s just too damn triumphant to not go that route as he delivers a knockout to finish his breakout tape. The topic seems to be how Joey sometimes feels the weight of the world on his shoulders and wishes he could rid himself of all of his burdens. Portraying a spiritual journey to redemption where he even likens himself to Derrick Rose Purp casts himself as the protagonist that carries his story to legendary heights.