“My Life’z a Movie” is RJ Payne’s Most Cohesive Work Yet (Album Review)
This is the 3rd full-length album from Philly emcee RJ Payne. Coming up in the battle rap circuit under the original moniker Reignman, he would go on to build up an extensive solo catalogue for himself with 23 mixtapes as well as well as 6 EPs & of course his last 2 albums. Benny the Butcher even signed RJ to Black Soprano Family Records for a brief period of time, putting out some of best material like Leatherface & Square Root of a Kilo under Benny’s ever-growing indie label of his own. But to follow-up If Cocaine Could Talk 7 & Blood on My Chainsaw from the beginning of the year, RJ’s enlisting Stu Bangas to produce My Life’z a Movie in it’s entirety.
After the “Home Sweet Home” intro, the first song “Central Park Vibes” is a piano/boom bap-laced opener with RJ letting y’all in on a day in his life whereas “Time Hotel” takes a more jazzier route confessing that he feels like he never rests & that no one can stop him. “Little Italy” goes into drumless turf spitting some mafioso bars & after the “Vintage Brooklyn” interlude, “Brooklyn Love” returns to the boom bap professing his appreciation for the titular city in NY. After the “Q Borough” interlude though, we have RJ getting in his selfish bag on the dusty “Jamaica Ave” just before the funk/gospel hybrid “Long Island Expressway” talks about how this gon’ be a Hell of a night & that he feels like King Kong.
“Top Down in Harlem” weaves some synthesizers to flex about drive around the titular neighborhood in the City of Dreams” with the top down & after the “D Train” interlude, the song “Bronx Tale” comes through with a bluesy story that occurred in our culture’s birthplace. The penultimate track “Staten Island Vibes” works in a soul sample & a flute so RJ can rep Shaolin prior to “The Check Out” sending off the album with him on top of an orchestral yet jazzy beat talking about having a great time chilling at the Time Hotel.
As much as I enjoyed RJ’s brief run with BSF, I can argue that My Life’z a Movie is quite possibly the most cohesive body of work in his catalog thus far. The production that Stu Bangas cooks up on here pull from an eclectic range of sounds & it’s a bit conceptual with the lyrics throughout basically serving as a genuine love letter to the Big Apple with the references to all the cities.