Right in line and fine formation with Chicago’s growing renaissance of young flourishing hip-hop artists like Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Noname, G Herbo, Kembe X, Lance Skiiiwalker and many more, Joey Purp (Joey Davis) of the Savemoney and Leather Corduroy crews is in like fashion making a way for himself with his creative well written rhyme lines focusing on his environment and the conditions of his residence over music made by his similarly talented friends and producers de la Chi. His second mixtape, iiiDrops (released independently on May 27), follows his 2012 debut The Purple Tape and is a firm potent mix of fun jams and joints displaying his societal sociopolitical awareness and consciousness that reveal the uneven keel he, his family and mates experience everyday in their city. Purp’s attention to authentic rapping on smart brilliant topics to beats of a new unique nature makes iiiDrops one of the most urgent Chicago hip-hop projects to come out so far this year.
A serious emcee in all respects, Purp gets his points across without wasting time or added unnecessary filler but keeps his tone light in songs like the bouncy flirty “Girls” featuring Chance The Rapper, “Photobooth,” and the hazy blurry “Kids” narco-ballad. To set the overall emotional framework of the project initially though, he admits he has firsthand eyewitness knowledge of Chiraq violence yet hopes for the best in “Morning Sex,” he raps about the status quo and speaks on ways the poor and disadvantaged are kept down in “Money & Bitches” featuring Mick Jenkins (another great Chicago rapper), and states in the Teddy Jackson-assisted “When I’m Gone” that “the system just make[s] a victim out of innocent people, set[s] us up for failure and tells us that we [are] not an equal.”
In “Cornerstore,” with Saba and theMIND, Purp touches on some of his touching childhood memories from when he was a more impressionable, vulnerable youngster, and in “Say You Do,” he confronts his girl who he suspects is feigning affection for him. From there on out, it’s nothing but good vibes. “Godbody” is an exhibition of Purp’s ability to transmit tight flows in perfect music time and to close everything out, “Winners Circle” (ft. Vic Mensa) and “Escape” march forward into the horizon with persistence, determination, ambition and commitment, ignoring all distractions at every step. All along the way, Joey is aided by eleven all new, original, unrecycled beats from maestros of record-making like Knox Fortune, Peter Cottontale, Thelonious Martin and Donnie Trumpet. Obviously the Social Experiment influence on the music is effulgent and unescapable though altered a bit for an overall coarser, more overcast shade and essence, tailored to Purp’s personality. Joey Purp may not do anything much more progressive besides diagnosis the problems evident in his hometown here (some solutions and a possible prognosis would have been helpful), but without question, iiiDrops is another big one-up for Chicagoland and a fab add-on to hip-hop history for a city that really needs it at the moment.
4 out of 5 stars