Never Forgotten album cover

Stars: 4/5

It is seldom that someone is remembered. The amount of people who achieve glory is slim, and those who keep the glory is even slimmer. One-hit wonders are plentiful in the music industry. Beyond his 2016 hit single "Uber Everywhere" that made him famous, I have not considered any of MadeinTYO’s projects memorable. While it is not necessarily a great or suprising project, MadeinTYO ensures that critics like myself do not dismiss his ability on his latest album “Never Forgotten.” 

An album’s first song is of the utmost importance as no one wants to be turned away or force themselves to listen. The opener has to set the tone, and the tone must be sturdy. “Movie” is the opener on MadeinTYO’s second studio album. It begins with drab lyrics about obstacles in his life and a rather somber instrumental to match, then, 30 seconds into the track, the beat drops. The lyrics come alive as strings build-up to the climax for a second, less exhilarating beat drop where the chorus begins: “I did it for them, I did it for us, makе sure you visit your people.” MadeinTYO raps about how far he has come with a couple of his trademark “ooh’s” and “skrt’s.”

Three of the next five songs have features. J Balvin puts in a strong Spanish showing on the fun upbeat track “All I Need.” A song with that trademark MadeinTYO sound to follow a surprising opening song. Balvin’s Spanish verse is easy to listen to, and his dynamic flow lasts for over a minute. The next song sounded quite similar in terms of the rhythm with just a slight pitch change to differentiate the two. 

Another difference between track two and the third track “Freaky Girl” is an extremely strong thumping base which could only mean one thing, the Atlanta legend Young Nudy is in attendance. Once you hear the blowing raspberries (bronx cheer) you know exactly what time it is. Street life and making money are all he talks about, but that unique Nudy flow never misses.

The peculiar chillwave pioneer Toro y moi lends his complex eccentric producing style to the albums fifth track “Money Up.” MadeinTYO's vast array of adlibs meshes well with Toro’s interestingly placed adlibs. To call this track a conventional rap song would be a mistake. Just another track on the album with an important feature shaping the sound of the album. Rap legends Camron and Wiz Khalifa contribute verses to this project along with the ASAP mob affiliate Chynna who tragically passed at only 25 years old. Formerly released song “Jerry $tackhouse” got a Lucki verse added which is a musical match made in heaven.

Loyalty is not a rare concept to MadeinTYO. Four years after producing “Uber Everywhere,” producer K SWISHA is still the main man for the rapper. SWISHA receives producing credits for 12 of the 17 songs on “Never Forgotten.” On the closing song “Human-Made Racing”, the duo released a chilled classic to be.  “Old s***, new twist. Tokyo, K SWISH.” This final song reminds me of “Coffee Bean” from Travis Scott’s 2018 album “Astroworld” even down to the formatting. A calm track with an exceedingly catchy beat and similar formatting. 

The project's shortcoming is its lack of diversity. While K SWISHA and MadeinTYO delivered a project that is perfect for background play at any event or even a Halloween party, the lack of predictability in these tracks prevents the album from receiving a five-star rating. Considering that this duo has a specific sound, it is expected. That being said, this is still a solid album with plenty of replay value in certain songs.

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