A wild clear-eyed intensity reigns supreme on T22’s powerful “Rookie of the Year (Deluxe Version)”. The sheer energy that runs through the tracks reveals a sense of urgency. Flows are fire for the whole of the album seems to capture the sense of unease that seems to define this moment in time. Multiple approaches run through the album, from trap, to EDM, to even elements of experimental ambient thrown into the mix for good measure. Production feels flawless for it captures the rawness of the lyricism while resulting in rather lush sound. Bass worms its way through these pieces adding a level of sheer physicality into it. Best taken in as a whole, T22 proves to be a deft storyteller for the tracks are vignettes from a life lived to the fullest, with all the hope, anxiety, and defiance that entails.
References abound throughout the whole of the album. At its most unhinged and raw, it delves into JPEGMAFIA’s unbridled sense of aggression. During its most experimental and out-there moments, T22 even touches upon a take on Warp Records’ hypnotic rhythms. In that way, T22 does reach Danny Brown levels of deft wordplay and clever poetry. For the whole of the album there is a smooth sense of rhythm and pacing that does draw from Flying Lotus’s jazz-like mantras and sudden bursts of geometric hip-hop.
Upon finishing up the very short “Intro (feat. ReaparRay & Poppadoss !)” things start up in stride with the swagger of “Rookie of the Year (Interlude)”. It is in this piece where T22 sets the tone for what follows. “Abstract World” proves to be an incredible instrumental, harkening back to early 90s ambient techno, with hints of LFO’s simple yet effective work. Nimble percussion anchors the luxurious “Lemonade”, one of the highlights of the album. Lyrics are delivered with a strong sense of confidence as the song positively shines, even with T22 saying “this is poetry in motion” which feels earned. A spaghetti western cinematic flair emerges on “Doe”. Folding and unfolding “Kwan-T” has a cyclical hypnotic quality to it. Stately swagger centers the whole of “Recipe”.
A slinky jazz groove glides through on the late-night vibes of “Crisp Snare”. Dreamy synthesizers intersect on the surreal “Fast Money Freestyle”, another highlight of the album. Joyous melodies are made so wonderfully tender offering a powerful counterpoint to the lyricism. Slow, lumbering tempos roll through on “Sauce (R.I.P. Fredo)”. Setting the weird tenor of the track with a “Dexter’s Laboratory” sample, “Fuck These Hoes, Fuck These Bitches (feat. ReaparRay & Poppadoss)” the song has an elastic, woozy element. Rumbling through “Uno Momento” has a sheer physicality to it. “SkitZo MoDe” strips things down to the essentials with a steady confrontational tact. Tortured sounds add to the hyperactive flows of “Redd Dott”. Bringing everything to a thoughtful conclusion is the spacious finale of “Sloppy (feat. Poppadoss !)”
T22’s “Rookie of the Year (Deluxe Version)” stuns for its sheer size and scope result in a unique vibe that is uniquely his own.