Happy New Year! It seems as though January just ended and quite a few artists dropped some heat to start off the new year. With a new year comes a whole new year worth of music and one artist quietly dropped a project that needs to be listened to a little more closely. So pull up a chair and take notes as we dissect the first album review of the year with Siyiid’s ‘Note To Self.’
The first song is “Better Me” and we have a short monologue from Siyiid explaining the song. Siyiid is about getting better everyday, and because he’s so determined to be better, it could come off as though he’s better than the next person. The only person Siyiid is trying to be better than is the person he was yesterday. From the first few seconds of the song we learn that Siyiid’s life has been everything except easy, and that’s why he has to be a “Better Me.” The next song is “Die Trying” featuring Ambition the Poet. This is my favorite instrumental off of the entire project, much love to whoever produced it, the song is so soulful and chill that it takes you somewhere. On the first verse Siyiid cites some examples he saw of success as a young man but that was only a shortsighted view of success. Siyiid makes mention of this with lines like, “Class is in session let me school you to some game y’all/you can be successful from the hood if you ain’t play ball.” Then he comes through and crushes the second verse and the beat slows down as Ambition the Poet raps his verse. I’m not a fan of Ambition’s cadence, but other than that it was a really dope song. Song number three is “I’m Alive” where we are treated to some 8 or 16 bit type sound as the hook starts. The theme of the song is that Siyiid has come through a lot but he’s still alive and he’s going to make the most of his life. He starts the second verse with a dope cadence and rhyme scheme about “he who knoweth” and there were some clever word uses there. Then he goes into a sing song flow and cadence and it really sounded smooth. Siyiid changed it up a lot on this song and made what would have been a simple song that much more complex and interesting.
About a quarter of the way through the album we land on “Dead Kingz” and it’s definitely one of those real life songs(well everything on this album is about real life but things get really real on this song). This song is a must listen as Siyiid talks about the meaning what’s really living and what’s not. Next we have “Get Better” featuring HD. First off, HD didn’t really need to be on the song, her flow and cadence were very lackluster and not a good way to start off the song. As soon as Siyiid came on with his verse, the life came back into the song. Both Siyiid and HD sound like they are talking to someone who has been speaking negatively of them, which may most likely be their insecurities or doubts but they are determined to “Get Better.” The next song is “Like Me” and this song really speaks to the theme of the album ‘Note To Self’ as it sounds like Siyiid is talking to himself. The first verse he talks about living a life of wisdom and then he really gets in his bag on the next verse and really talks the talk to himself of how he is living and will continue to live. His lines, “Taking nothing to the grave, every gift I utilize/My children say ‘He gave it all’ when they eulogize/ talk about my struggles and my strengths so I’ll be humanized,” really let you know where Siyiid is at in his mind with this life God gave him. Rounding out this quarter of the album we have the steady bop “Loner.” Siyiid gets his croon on with this hook as he notes the fact that he’s always by himself he might just be a loner. Usually the word “loner” is used with a negative connotation but Siyiid actually speaks on how being a loner can be a good thing. Siyiid has a lot of things he wants to do with his life and is going to accomplish them, even if he has to do it by himself. In the first verse he speaks of how moving on your own is actually a grown man move, which makes sense because most of us in our adolescence(and some adults) wait for the crowd to affirm or condone the things we want to do. Siyiid is not on that but he’s not downing teamwork with lines like, “Don’t get me wrong I’m all for team effort/ but ain’t no team if that gon mean I let my dreams fester,” it’s very very obvious that Siyiid will let no one or nothing stop him from accomplishing his dreams.
The last section of the album starts off with “Remodelled” featuring Shannon Selah and they speak of being remodelled “from the top down.” Siyiid takes us down the road of his past and how the Lord saved him from his environment and his own painful thoughts. He discovered a lot about himself in these times and now he tells his story, joined by Shannon Selah on the hook, this is a very inspirational song. Next is “Only God Forgives” featuring Tia McNeil which has more somber sound to it as Siyiid speaks about forgiving the person who has let him down his entire childhood. This is a must listen to for those who deal with a loved one who let them down, God forgives them and you can move past the pain. The next to last song is “Way It Go” as Siyiid feels like he made it to where he wanted to be but it took some time. Siyiid ends with a nice short spoken word segment and then the chorus fades out and we land on the last song on the project “Know Me.” This song starts with a chant of, “They don’t know me like you know me, and I don’t think they ever will,” and it seems as if he is speaking of people not understanding him like God does. He seems confident which others may mistake for arrogance, but Siyiid remembers when his self esteem was extremely low. Siyiid used to feel stupid and incompetent and the that he’s at the level he’s at is nothing short of a miracle. Siyiid is okay with being misunderstood because he’s known by the One who made him. This declaration is the perfect way to close out this project.
In conclusion, this project is a great way to start off the year. From the encouragement to opening up his life, scars, and lessons learned, Siyiid’s project ‘Note To Self’ is a great project. Siyiid is a veteran rhyme-slinger and that was very evident in the way he crafted this project. I was pleasantly surprised by some of his rhyme word choices as they weren’t always predictable, and he even used some off-rhyme as well. Siyiid’s voice is very unique and at first listen it would be easy to say that he sounds like Rick Ross, but that would be very dismissive of Siyiid’s talents. While they both speak of the streets, Siyiid’s narration doesn’t glorify it, and more importantly, he points to the way out. My only critiques of this album lie with some of his features as Siyiid is so talented that any one he brings onto the project that doesn’t do as good as he does or better, actually brings down the song. This was very apparent with “Get Better” with HD and she should have been left off the song completely. On “Remodelled” with Shannon Selah, she sounded good on some parts but a little off on others, and though I loved the beat switch on “Die Trying,” Ambition the Poet sounded awkward on his verse. Siyiid had strong performances throughout this project just as you would expect since it’s his project, I would just suggest that he be more selective with who he puts on his projects in the future. Do yourself a favor and start your year off right with Siyiid’s ‘Note To Self.’1