A first look at the collaboration album by artists Tireek and Lonely Leonard
Consider this an exclusive look at the newest album by up-and-coming artists Tireek and Lonely Leonard. In Modern Music Analysis first collaboration with an artist, we break down CROOKLAND — an album that tackles the heaviest and, unfortunately, common topics among black America.
CROOKLAND is the debut collaborative album by artists Lonely Leonard & Tireek. The full-length project is raw, honest, and unapologetic as it tackles issues such as racism, police brutality, injustice, poverty and more. Recorded over a span on 2 years, the album sees the east coast artists spit some of their best and most potent verses which show that they are among the best in their class. However, this is only a sample of the young artists potential.
The mature subject matter in which these artists speak almost is heart-breaking because it hits so close to home. From racism to police brutality, it’s all too familiar. The intro is a bone-chilling collection of newscasts relating to the oppression of black Americans preceded by an angelic verse and backed by a hard hitting bass. This will set the tone from the very start, shit’s about to get real.
Similar to the flow of former rap group Chocolate Gang, of Spinrilla fame, the way these artist can piggyback off of each other from verse to verse is beyond smooth. The entire production is much more mature than one would expect from young rappers.
In perhaps the best song of the album, “Yellow”, Tireek and Lonely Leonard plus a feature from Vandi, create an excellent and melodic explanation of how growing up on the streets can affect who we are. The veracious bars juxtaposed by the calming, jazz saxophone makes for an intriguing composition. This song perfectly showcases the abilities of the artist and nicely sets the tone and expectations going forward.
With a similar vibe to “Yellow”, is the song “On My Block”. This song is a more direct call to action against police brutality. Included, is an anecdote describing the consecutive encounters with police and how that relationship soured in time. The recognition of how fast the “boys in blue” will turn on you is critical to the understanding the fear that surrounds the police force, especially in the hood. The constant micro-policing of people of color is racist and discriminatory by nature and will forever cause a fracture in the image of police officers.
Lastly, is the song “Black Boy’s Don’t Cry”. This song has a very old-school vibe to it yet the title is reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar’s “Black Boy Fly”. The hauntingly beautiful message provided in this song is a reminder that black children don’t have time to complain about the oppression around them. Consider it an obstacle, so find a way around it and keep it pushing because the world will leave you behind, immediately, given the choice. The foxhole from promising, bright kid to just another reject is explained in very clear terms — essentially a pipeline caused by external circumstances.
Overall, this is a great album with a strong subject matter. Full of things that need to be said and must be heard, Tireek and Lonely Leonard and breaking on to the scene in a major way. This album is out on 3/19/2021 on all platforms, go give it a listen and tell them MMA sent you!
Top 3 songs: Yellow, On My Block, Black Boys Don’t Cry