New York emcee & revered battle rapper RJ Payne formerly known as Reign Man back with his 8th EP. Building up an extensive solo catalogue for himself with 23 mixtapes as well as well as his last 7 EPs & 4 full-length 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. However, My Life’z a Movie produced by Stu Bangas quickly became my favorite LP in RJ’s discography celebrating it’s 1-year anniversary last weekend & to come off the moderately well received P.A. Dre-produced sequel last month, Enemy Soil Entertainment in-house producer C-Lance is teaming up with the Reign Man for a trip to The Barbershop.
After the “Barberchair” intro, the first song “Uninspired” explains his reasons for inspiration being at a low currently over a luxurious boom bap instrumental whereas “Already Rich” works in some glamorous keys talking about being rich spiritually. “Man Child” gives off a somber vibe musically coming to teach & rebuild the love, but then the piano-driven “The Ghost of Kevin Samuels” gives his flowers to the late controversial internet personality going on to say that we need to look into the mirror & get our shit together.
“Losing My Religion” has a crooning soul vibe to it telling y’all to consider him to be a hoodlum with a mission while “Slave Food” cautioning those who’ll use food as a weapon as he’s been noticing it since the recession. But until the “Barberchair” outro, the final song “Conspiracy Theories” prays that every day will get better being well aware of what the government’s hiding over some kicks, snares & an luscious backdrop.
If My Life’z a Movie is RJ’s best album, then there’s no question in my mind that The Barbershop will stand the test of time as my favorite EP of his because I went into it expecting it to be an LP but they still delivered on the same caliber as that Stu Bangas-produced album. Conceptually, RJ takes the listeners through a trip experience feeling as if you’re at an actual barbershop & the score that C-Lance cooks up is incredibly consistent.