This is the 9th full-length album from Brooklyn emcee Kota the Friend. Breaking out in 2016 off his debut EP Palm Tree Liquor, he would go on to follow it up with 2 more EPs before dropping his debut album FOTO in 2019. Kota has since dropped 7 more under his belt, with my favorite To Kill a Sunrise fully produced by Statik Selektah celebrating its 2 year anniversary just last weekend. So with that in mind, he & the established Boston producer are reuniting To See a Sunset.
“High Noon” is a warm, soulful boom bap opener to the album looking back on the people praying on his decimation & Kota’s current view being tropical whereas “Real Ones” works in some bluesy guitars, strings, kicks & snares talking about life being good. “Elevator” takes a jazzier approach as he makes it clear that he ain’t got time for no dumb motherfucker prior to “Go Brooklyn” is an atmospheric boom bap cut representing his hometown.
Moving on to “Maybe So”, we have Statik bringing back the jazz as Kota talks about staying ahead of things just before “1 Life” laces some pianos so he can encourage everyone to do it right with the short time we have here. “Valleys” has a more lavish approach telling listeners everything’s gonna be ok & you’re gonna make it leading into the wavy pop rap ballad “Eye See U” addressing his sweetheart. The penultimate track “Free Not Woke” brings back the blues guitars as Kota speaks on doing as you please & “Thank You” is an appropriate victory lap from the peppy beat to the gracious lyrics.
Truthfully, the last 3 albums that Kota’s dropped since I’ve last covered his music were all average at best respectively & To See a Sunset reveals itself to be a more than worthy sequel to what I consider to be the crown jewel of his discography. Statik’s production is as rich as it was on the predecessor except it has a more jazzy boom bap flare to it as the theme turning your dream into a reality & being present with the realization that you’re living your best life is inspiring.