Jay Rock, Paper, Scissors

I always find it amazing what makes my day. It could be a customary generator of happiness, like interactions with loved ones, or a new accomplishment. Good music has always provided the soundtrack to my better days and today is no different.

Jay Rock, sometimes called the Raphael of TDE, has released some heat. “Money Trees Deuce” is the continuation of the forest fire he left on the third verse of the original song. Rock has not released much content in his name since his 2011 project Follow Me Home but those following him know he has been bodying songs left and right. From “Money Trees” off GKMC to YG’s “I Just Wanna Party,” this man has proven himself a very destructive guest artist. Following up one of his best verses from an album that has reached masses was pretty clever. This is a great move to get his solo work off the ground and into new ears.

Kendrick and Jay Rock took the idea of money growing on trees and transcended the idea to a new place of understanding. The “money trees” they are chasing find their meaning more in why they are pursuing them rather than what they are. It doesn’t take much to grasp the situation these two have grown up in. All you have to do is close your eyes and let the imagery heavy lyrics hit your ears and subsequently, your hearts. Ever so strategically, Kendrick puts a lot of the conviction of the song into the hook. He details two poisons to the listener and tells them to pick one; sounds like a bleak situation to me. K. Dot continues to illustrate the toxin’s effect on a person and the opportunities money will open up for him. If the situation hadn’t been coherent enough, Jay Rock comes in like a meteor summing up everything with a relentless delivery. In a show stealing few breaths, we learn of a personal case of the very real world he resides in.

“Money Trees Deuce” revealed to me something very dark, saddening, and just plain unfortunate. Some people, actually most, chasing after the shade of money trees won’t reach them. They’ll get caught up in the heat of the streets and never feel the cool security of the shade. I have a feeling that is precisely why Jay Rock created this follow-up.

I love the choice of instrumental for this song. It sounds like the sonic manifestation of nostalgia. Every sound contributes a part to the mood and tone. Rock’s cadence fits perfectly and allows him to bring home the concept of money trees one more time. This time around he came with a much tighter and grittier flow. For those who may not know what I mean by tighter flow, pay attention to the breath control and placement of syllables over the beat. Just because an artist isn’t rapping fast doesn’t mean the melody isn’t any less complex. As listeners we are shouldering much more explicit content and the world portrayed is grimmer in this sequel. Hence the line “Wigs splitted, cantaloupe, yeah we see that every day.” Jay Rock re-emphasizes the poisons mentioned in “Money Trees” and how they infect the community of Watts. We hear of constant problems arising rapidly, back-to-back at that. We learn of Rock’s efforts to save himself from this hell and the dangers he and his family are exposed to, just to figure out he is trapped in a cycle where money trees are the only way out.

With not much hope left for Jay Rock, he gives an incredibly inspirational outro. This flick of the switch sheds some light on the shadows cast by these money tree$. He reminds us of something so candid it could go over the most enlightened minds. Throughout everything we have experienced with Rock in-and-out the soundscape of the song he tells us to push forward, believe in ourselves, and to never stop chasing our goals. This man has clearly reached his and remained sturdy like the rock he is, enduring but not forgetting any and all of what he has been through.

I’m a sucker for music with a higher purpose than just entertainment so this track hits me a bit harder the average pass-the-aux record. Hopefully this can get the reach its predecessor did and touch just as many hearts in the process.

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