Disclaimer: All views presented in this Album Review are those of the reviewer and not of DJ Wade-O.
As summer creeps upon us and new music continues to flood the airways, KB is about to release his sophomore album, Tomorrow We Live.
This is technically his third release under Reach Records; however, 100 was an EP and not a full-length project. Last year when he released 100, it was just enough to hold the fans over and create a buzz for more music. You could hear growth from his debut album Weight & Glory, but there wasn’t enough to figure out what his next project was going to sound like.
Since Weight & Glory, he has had a son and has grown up quite a bit. With that being said, what will the new music sound like? He mentioned in an interview this latest offering will serve as songs for the struggling. Does that mean a lot of chants? Raw honesty? What does it mean?
There is always a ton of pressure on Reach artists because they consistently put out high quality music. Whether the pressure is fair or not, expectations are high. Stating that your music is for the struggling is ambiguous because the struggle translates musically in many different ways.
In this review, we will take a look at Tomorrow We Live and what it offers to its listeners.
When you hit play on this project, you will notice the very first song is quite familiar. “Rich Forever” is a toned down version of the single he released titled, “Silver & Gold.” The bass and chorus of the original has a little more of the turn up feel. The album version still captures the heart behind the original song, as he reflects on how money and material success doesn’t compare to the riches we have in Christ.
Next thing that listeners will notice, is the variety of styles/sounds that are presented as the album progresses. The first song is a little bit on the mellow side, as he’s singing on the chorus. Then, the next tracks, “Sideways,” and “I Believe” have more of a trap, heavy hitting sound. These two songs will be great for causing crowd chaos at concerts.
Once you get all turned up, the album takes you to an interlude that leads you to a sweet song about KB’s son. He’s singing the entire song and it has a super happy-go-lucky feel to it. The song is really genuine and as a dad, I can completely relate to pouring out your heart for your children. However, the placing of this song was not fitting for the album. The album takes you from turn up to a song that I’d play for my child on the drive to school, in a matter of moments. The drastic change in sounds doesn’t allow the listener to get comfortable on their journey to the end of the album.
When listeners hear “Cruising” it will be hard for them not to hear Kendrick Lamar. Overall, the song has the West Coast, laid back sound to it. But the cadence KB chose and how he drags the lines at the end of his bars, is very similar to what people were hearing from Kdot on good kid, m.A.A.d city. Kendrick may not be first to have that sound, but he’s the hottest out of the West right now, so that’s what people will associate it to.
As listeners continue on, the latter end of the album takes a turn towards much more serious content dealing with suicide in “Calling You,” and addictions in “Drowning.” “Lights Go Out” is a strong song dealing with commitment, and the remix of “Crowns & Thorns” will have people ready for some hip hop worship in their house. The amount of emotions that the last portion of the album takes the listener through is almost overwhelming. The songs and interludes that go along with them are put together very wonderfully.
If fans listen through the entire project, they may feel like they just had a lot thrown at them.
Tomorrow We Live speaks to a wide variety of topics. It kind of reminded me of the quote that says, “when you aim at everything, you succeed at nothing.” While KB did succeed in different areas, the concept felt strong only towards the end of the album. Songs like “Ima Just Do It,” “Sideways,” “Fall In Love With You” and “Always & Forever” don’t exactly communicate “songs for the struggling.” Fans will have different perceptions of what that actually sounds like, but in contrast with some of the songs that tackle tough topics, those songs don’t exactly fit.
Should KB be confined to songs that only talk about tough topics? Of course not. It just seems that as they listen throughout the project, the feel of the beginning vs. the end will evoke very different emotions
This project did not have many big features that stood out. Lecrae and Bubba Watson were the only individuals who rapped on the project. Fans may be disappointed by that and some may enjoy it. It seems that a lot of the songs had messages that were personal to KB and didn’t need other rappers on them.
The Lecrae verse on “Sideways” may get people talking because he makes comments about CHH boxing him in, but that shouldn’t be new. He’s been stating it since Church Clothes Vol. 1.
Bubba Watson‘s verse on “Ima Just Do It” is fun and a bit gimmicky. I guess it fits a little when the song is talking about “just doing it.” Having him on the song was probably a fun idea, but fans may just not be able to take it that seriously. Some, may actually enjoy it because of the feature. It may just depend on your hip hop purist level (how serious you are about hip hop on a scale from Talib Kweli to Waka Flocka).
Tomorrow We Live is not the best that KB’s put out. There were some moments that were really good and there were moments that were really bad.
Some of the highlights include songs like “I Believe,” “Calling You,” “Crowns & Thorns” and the bonus track “Find Your Way.” These songs really captured what he communicated the heart of the album is.
Also, KB does such a great job encouraging people towards Christ and to not bend towards the ways of the world in his lyrics.
For example, in “Find You Way” he says, “Don’t be conned by the Ye (Kanye), in the West, we ain’t got the answers (West and a play on his interview with Sway).“ It doesn’t always translate to a great song, but his lyrics are on point more often than not.
Some of the lows on this project include the song placement and trap songs. The songs about his wife and son weren’t bad songs, they just were placed in a weird spot on the album. It just could have been done better.
Some of the songs with the trap sound like “Sideways” and even “Ima Just Do It” just didn’t have that authentic feel. It didn’t seem like they would translate well if you took those songs to people in the actual hood.
KB told DJ Wade-O in an interview that he enjoys the trap sound of rappers like Chief Keef and so forth. While that may be true, it does not sound like he’s found his own voice or spin on that sound. It’s still hit or miss.
As he continues to put out music and create, I’m sure we will hear a more consistent sound from him (regardless of if it’s trap or not). Tomorrow We Live will be great for the die hard Reach fans that don’t let you say anything negative about them. The fans of hip hop and CHH will probably pick and choose the songs they like. He offered a wide variety of songs and it will be interesting to see who latches on and who does not connect with them.