Published Jun 17, 2015At this point, Brooklyn MC Skyzoo is considered a veteran who is now associated with delivering a dependable, assured and almost predictable dose of beats and rhymes. On "Civilized Leisure," Sky seems to be aware of this perception, rhyming "They say 'Sky, your story don't ever change up' / It never will, it's everything that I say it was / Forever will be centred on how we came up." Focusing on his immediate circle of acquaintances as the album title suggests could have backfired and delivered a blinkered and misguided project.
Thankfully, that's not the case, and Music For My Friends is arguably Skyzoo's finest project to date. Interspersed with shoutouts from his close childhood friends and The Wire references, Music For My Friends finds Skyzoo tapping into the creative wellspring of the jazzy hip-hop and '90s hip-hop he's extensively drawn from in his career. "Luxury," for example, flips the same sample as A Tribe Called Quest's "8 Million Stories," but this time you really get the sense Skyzoo has delved deeper into his own experience, both musically and lyrically. There's a jazzy sensibility that weaves itself through all the tracks that meshes well with Skyzoo's tendency to lean heavily on thought-provoking lyrics and narratives while leaving room for the occasional lyrical exercise.
"Money Makes Us Happy," featuring Black Thought and Bilal, is a clear standout, ruminating on a complexity that belies the song's title. Similarly, "See A Key (Ki)" wrestles with the moral consequences of quick money. Aside from a few tracks that might have been culled — "Women Who Can Cook" is a top candidate here — keeping things close to home allows Skyzoo to provide a lot of lyrical food for thought. (First Generation Rich / Empire)