Ukrainian-American lyricist Your Old Droog returning after 2 years for his 9th full-length album. Breaking out through his self-titled debut, many actually first thought he was an alter ego of Nas given that their voices are somewhat similar. He eventually became a legend in his own right off later projects such as Packs as well as It Wasn’t Even CloseTIME & the Nicholas Craven-produced YOD Wave. The 4 EPs he’s given us since YOD StewartYodney DangerfieldThe Yodfather & The Shining weren’t as great in my opinion yet most certainly had their highlights at the same time. So after taking 2023 off, Droog’s releasing a Movie to get summer rolling.

“Success & Power” produced by Just Blaze couldn’t have been a better choice of an opening track from the grand boom bap production to the lyricism about rappers being in competition with each other & YOD being in competition with fish in comparison whereas “Crescent Moon” keeps the kicks & snares in tact going for a rawer approach asking these John Kerry rappers “why the long face?”. Harry Fraud gives “How Do You Do It?” a soulful trap vibe instrumentally admitting that he should’ve been the one asking questions when he was younger just before the drumless “I Think I Love Her” talks about the most important woman in his life other than his mother.

La Musica de Hairy Frog returns behind the boards for the luxurious “Mantra” preaching that no matter how difficult things may get, anything is better than that leading into the piano boom bap crossover “Grandmother’s Lessons” paying tribute to his own grandmother. “Mercury Thermometers” has to be one of my favorite singles building up to the LP since we have Droog dropping more jewels than a Harvard lecture over a Conductor Williams beat leading into “What Else?” aggressively telling artists to tell their listeners an alternative to the cap.

“The Sandbox” keeps it boom bap profoundly looking back on his younger self having no idea that he was gonna be as big as he is in the underground today & after the “Interview” interlude, “3 Milli” thunderously expresses that he’s living so good now to the point that it all feels surreal to him while “Yodi Dodi” hooks up some woodwinds with kicks & snares talking about staying in his own bubble. After another “Interview” interlude, “A Damn Shame” maintains that same energy saying a man ain’t complete without a woman while “DBZ” by Yodlib featuring Denzel Curry & Method Man was in my opinion THE strongest single since Madlib’s unique ear for samples come to play sampling “Deep Shadow” by Little Ann for a generational barfest.

To begin the climax of the Movie, the song “Roll Out” radiates jazzy boom bap energy from Harry Fraud telling everybody that sometimes they need to know when to dip while the title track serves as the album’s official closer soulfully promising that he’s gonna stay true to himself until the casket falls. “Care Plan” by Yodlib featuring Yasiin Bey on the contrary is the perfect bonus track that YOD himself announced on Twitter a year & a half ago continuing to tease a full Yodlib project that in my opinion would feed generations.

YOD Wave is already my favorite EP Droog has ever done & although I still maintain the 4 he put out after weren’t as great as a whole even with their own individual highs, his first LP in over 3 years by far has to be the most I’ve enjoyed a project from him in over 2. It’s more well produced improving on the sounds of jazz rap, boom bap & drumless joined by only a few deserving high profile guest spots basically likening the life he’s lived up to this moment to a feature length film.

Score: 8/10