Finally. After three uncomfortably long years, CJ Fly has returned with his second solo project, Flytrap.
“Energy is what we get paid
Been feelin’ low, could use a raise
Then the struggle gets viewed as rage
If we remain things stay the same
So much wisdom at this young age
Only thing to do is share it”
Thee Way Eye See It, CJ Fly’s first solo release was very classical in the signature qualities that Fly so effortlessly decorated the project with, and used in birthing an entire new fan base for himself. When an artist releases a debut project, it acts a reflection of what they can do, and Thee Way Eye See It was no exception. This added a lot of pressure to CJ Fly and a lot of high expectations from his fans eager to hear him match the strength of his debut and keep the ball rolling. The production was eccentric in the smooth yet upbeat and catchy, jazzy beats, mostly due to the roster of skillful touches from the likes of Statik Selektah, The Entreproducers, Chuck Strangers, and Cookin’ Soul among many more. His unique tone of voice made the album enticing and comforting. The intricate lyrics highlighted CJ Fly’s prowess in wordplay – a quality that made him stand out among the 20-member-deep Pro Era collective. Would he be able to pull off another very strong musical release? Personally, I was very skeptical.
“I just wanna be perennial.”
For the regular CJ Fly listener, Flytrap is an arguably less exciting lyrical project than expected, maybe even underwhelming to some. But calling it a “bad project” overall would be far off. If anything, it highlights the amount of courage that he has had to test out a number of new sounds and explore his artistry – not something that many artists choose to do on their debut albums.
While the album did take a while to be released, as one eases through the 14-track project, it becomes clearer and clearer that the wait might not have been in vain at all. One that thing that excites me about an artist is growth and CJ Fly showed his eagerness to achieve this growth by not sticking to the sound and rap style that many of his fans grew used to and, instead, switched it up a bit. He experimented and took the time to execute as best as he could. His flows remained familiar, but the monotonus vocals are scarce and his vocal range is showcased through the pitch variations with his singing – even belting at some points – throughout the mixtape such as on ‘Dope’, ‘Lethal Allure’ featuring Eryn Allen Kane, and on ‘Confined’ which shows a clear Kid Cudi influence.
CJ Fly is the kind of artist that really doesn’t need a feature to add any kind of weight to a song or album. Whether it’s his captivating voice or his ability to adjust a wide range of beats (or both, most probably) CJ Fly has, time and again, proven to be a valuable component to any song in which he features. That does mean that the fact that Flytrap has very limited features is an added bonus.
This isn’t another Thee Way Eye See It. It’s a fun and enjoyable 2016 CJ Fly approach to an album, that might just lead to more interesting things.