Joey Purp on the Observer’s Overlooked Albums

In a year crowded with great Chicago albums, Joey Purp’s latest stands out on the strength of his voice. It’s forceful yet weathered, fitting for a 23-year-old who has already stopped selling drugs and started raising a daughter. In his songs, choices and consequences collide simultaneously. Purp begins the album with a triumphant fanfare called “Morning Sex,” only to open with the line, “I done been on both sides of the burner, I done witnessed both sides of the murder.” Chance The Rapper, who is practically the mayor to anyone under 25, can’t even get a ride home on bubbly Neptunes-core banger “Girls @.” Between those two extremes, the beats careen from lush piano waves to aggro squawks. This eclecticism might be overwhelming for a lesser artist, but Purp is merely showing off his range. He distills all the great fears and tiny worries of young black Chicagoans into “Cornerstore,” the centerpiece of the album. Fellow rising star Saba’s simple declaration, “I left my house this morning with the intent of returning” only becomes more powerful on each listen. Purp’s booming baritone takes listeners from small talk with a cashier to phone calls with his locked-up brother. With an album this compelling, he can go anywhere he chooses next.

Originally published on NDSMCObserver.

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