Published Apr 15, 2016If Toronto upstart Blake Carrington's F.A.I.L.U.R.E. imparts any message, it's that failure isn't just nothing to be ashamed of, but necessary even — provided one learns from it.
Carrington proudly reps the Dot, and with Junia T and Rich Kidd among the LP's beatsmiths and Kardinal Offishall and Raz Fresco providing guest verses, F.A.I.L.U.R.E. is perfectly home-grown. After a moving phone call with his proud, teary-eyed incarcerated pops, Carrington spends "Ghetto Free" — "the realest shit I ever wrote," according to the rapper — cutting ties with whatever he deems will sink him on his journey to fulfillment. Putting money and providing for his loved ones over everything, the album is peppered with cuts relating thereto, but "100,000," an ambitious nine-minute medley, is the most deftly executed of the bunch.
"Bullwishing" is a close second, with Carrington musing, "Committed to my hustle / I said I do, so it's only right I follow through" over Junia T's horn and percussion arrangements. But like "Ghetto Free," Carrington is at his best when detailing his many setbacks in becoming the best version of himself, most notably on "Yesterday" and "Faith Flow," as he spits on the latter: "Niggas ain't got jobs so they drowning in their beers / Told 'em life is beautiful once you stand up to your fears."
While there's something to be said about maintaining consistency through nearly two dozen tracks — using a handful of producers, no less — Carrington perhaps didn't need that many to convey his message. "Ahh Yeah" is little more than another ditty about living the dream, while anti-hater/faker cuts "Love Day" and "T.D.E.K.Y." are mere thematic rehashes, nuisances to the album's potency.
Still, making a dense and sonically cohesive project is a tall order, and a handful of duds aside, F.A.I.L.U.R.E. surpasses the bar Carrington's set for himself, both personally and musically. (Oui Self Made)