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The wait is over. After years of work and hype, Ryu has finally released his debut record (excluding the "secret" 1999 record) Tanks For The Memories. Was it worth the wait, though?
The album opens up with a big sample - Pink Floyd's 'Hey You' being the basis of the instrumental. The sample fits pretty well in an odd way. The pleads of Roger Waters sound nice in between Ryu, Gravity Christ, and Divine Styler's verses. The track 'The One' follows up, full of questionable references, including calls to Street Fighter and CARS. It doesn't really give a great comparison to him being "the one," nor does the counting up from one to eight at the end... would it not have been better to count down?
The album lacks a lot of seriousness, and that's a problem considering how hard it tries to be serious. The goofy instrumental of 'Been Doin This' is funky, but the lyrics are just as silly and have no clear direction. Instrumental moments aren't all bad, though: 'Bottom Of The Bottle' features sweet, Japanese-film strings that add a lot of atmosphere to the track, the hip-hop beat creating a pretty sweet track. Jams is pretty solid on the track too.
This album is plagued by out of place, out of date styles. Revivalism or nostalgia is never discouraged, but it doesn't really work when the music reflects the mentality that it's still in the era in which this music is popular. The fans will enjoy, but there isn't much else to it. Evidence of this is seen in closing track 'I Did It Myself', which references Fort Minor: "For delf, for dolo, the wealth, the fame, the shows, the planes, the photos, the fans that still with me see me on DeSoto / Never heard of Fort Minor but they love Marco Polo." Ironically, in what is essentially a weak version of 'Remember The Name', he raps above a more modern instrumental with piano and poppier beats, but that line itself shows that he still thinks in that era. It is an older song, to be fair, but the point stands.
There are attempts to change that - 'Lap Of The Gods' with Tak and Celph Titled seems to try and channel Kanye West to mixed effects; the beat is good, so it can be excused to some degree. Other tracks try too hard to sound relevant, especially 'The Bumrush' wish is just plain silly. 'Who's Next (Move)' is somehow goofy and oddly aggressive all at the same time, and it doesn't fit well. There's just a lot of attempts at something that even Ryu doesn't seem to quite understand, and it resulted in a very confused album.
Tanks For The Memories is that awkward debut where an artist wants to look past it and move forward to the future. Hopefully, this means Ryu will head in a smarter, more refined direction. This album was years in the making, so let's see what comes from the next one. Maybe we'll see the real Ryu shine through, instead of this confused double and his friends.
Favorite Tracks: Radio Pollution, Bottom Of The Bottle
Least Favorite Tracks: The Bumrush, Who's Next (Move), Mantis For Lotus
Rating: 52 / 100