Judging by the buzz coming from the RVA community, it is clear that the debut mixtape by Salute Ent’s Junny is one of the most anticipated and talked about RVA mixtape releases of the quarter – possibly of the year. That is a definitive and positive reflection of the work that Salute Ent. has done to promote the project to the community, the club djs, and commercial radio. Often times, in this current day of home studios and social media, you really don’t get a true movement behind a project, that is not the case with “Red Roses.” Salute Ent. has done one of the best jobs I’ve seen promoting a Richmond created hip hop project.
While I met him briefly at a local hip hop gathering a few weeks back, “Red Roses” is my first true introduction to Junny as an artist. I listened to the mixtape, hosted by Bigga Rankin and DJ Phalie, several times over the last few days. The 16 track mixtape – 15 tracks and 1 interlude – runs just over 45 minutes. The project is loaded with up-tempo street anthems and club banging tracks. Yet, I think Junny sums up the overarching theme of the project on the more subdued song “Nothing” produced by RicandThadeus, “Mind on Money/Grind on Honeys/Shining on N…./because I know my time coming.” That’s pretty much sums up most – if not all – of the content aspect of “Red Roses.” It’s the classic starting from the streets – grinding until you make it – theme that is the pillar of hip hop. That theme will never go away, get old, or be played out, as long as hip hop reflects the streets.
“Red Roses” is a project that is built for the “turn up,” and should have major commercial appeal – giving that Migos, Rich Gang, and OT Genesis, are killing the radio right now. I would put Junny’s “Shwagghouse” and “30 Piece” up against any track hitting in the club right now and I think it will stand up and stand out. The aforementioned “30 Piece” is my favorite track on the project. I, like many in RVA, have seen Tyree Evans drop more than 30 on opponents in his hoop days at George Wythe, and the track really put a smile on my face.
30 Piece – Junny
The bottom line is if your are looking for club records and street anthems “Red Roses” is your RVA soundtrack for 2015 – hand down. The production led by RicandThadeus, Yung Lan, and Kee Gotti, put together a lot of fire. And Junny handles the beats well. He has a flow that fits the production. While the production of the mixtape is consistent, it may limit Junny a bit. I have a preference for lyrical content and I didn’t see a lot of true bars on the record – matter of fact – it wasn’t until the last track on the project “Outro” that really gives the listener something different from Junny. In “Outro” he delivers quality bars that gives you a major glimpse into his deeper potential lyrically. I look forward to seeing that deeper level of content on projects the future. But that wasn’t the goal of “Red Roses.” And “Red Roses” delivers on its goal of banger after banger after banger.
Shwagghouse – Junny
Outro – Junny
As with many records coming out RVA, there is a lot of debate if this project will be the “breakout” project that puts RVA hip hop on the national map. Time will tell on that. My default barometer for any artist is lyrical skill and live performance. While I haven’t seen Junny perform live, I’m under the impression from social media that he has a large following and a strong stage show, so it seems he has that covered. Lyrically, I think there is a lot of potential but right now Junny’s lyrical skill is not at the top of the RVA class – lyrically. That doesn’t mean Junny is not a break out star. I think the total package he presents – the swag – the skill – the direct reach to the streets – puts him a a very high level. And with Salute Ent. doing the leg work to get his music out to the world…he can be the next breakout star from RVA – I want to be clear on that. I think the music formula on “Red Roses” is a very “now” formula. His songs are hits now…if Junny catches the wave that happening right now with a song like “Die Rich”…he can and will be a breakout star – no doubt. It’s up to him if you he can maintain and adjust to the next wave. True hip hop stars dictate the wave in music…I don’t see “Red Roses” changing the game – it’s truly in the mix of what’s hot right now. I’m not sure if this is the sound that will ultimately break RVA nationally because other cities: Atlanta in particular, seem to be dominating that club sound. But I look forward to see how this project moves and springboards nationally. I also look forward to seeing what’s next for Junny and Salute Ent. I think they have a big future.
I rate the “Red Roses” a 4 out of 5 mics.
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