(I might add 5 to my score simply for having the sexiest man alive, LaKeith Stanfield on one of the interludes here...)
Back when I was on my lyrical spiritual miracle shit, I discovered Kota The Friend's music with his project, "Palm Tree Liquor". I've been passively following Kota The Friend ever since. Nothing really stood out to me. Also, amusingly enough, all the white legacy kids in my Boarding School fucking love Kota. Sorry for that random sidenote, anyway I was impressed by a handful of Kota singles here and there. Moreover, I decided to give this album a chance after discovering how fucking big his last album was.
"Everything" is exactly what I expected from Kota The Friend. It's a vibe. I can appreciate that. It's a heartfelt and impressively uplifting sound which Kota has mastered. I mean, just listen to "Summerhouse" and say it doesn't make you smile? So, if you are looking for something to accompany the upcoming summer weather or bring some light to these dark times, give this a try!
However, if I'm actually reviewing this. Kota The Friend is making unfortunately bland. This being said, I want to make sure that it's clear that I respect the fuck out of Kota. He seems like a really nice dude with positive vibes. The dialogue at the end of "Seven (Interlude)" is pretty sweet. Saying that he doesn't care about anything, any opportunities when he is with his kid. Because he knows that his fame is temporary whereas he will always have his kid. Plus, the adorable feature from Kota's kid on the closing track. Which are admirably heartwarming moments. This album is full of those heartwarming sentiments. So if you simply want some simplistic heartwarming music then this is for you.
The ultimate problem is simply that Kota isn't that great of a rapper. Kota's bars rarely containing any memorable lines or quotables which results in entire tracks which go in one ear and leave out the other. I mean, the track "Long Beach" has so many amateurish flows and uninteresting rhyming patterns. It's sort of distracting and takes away from the summertime vibe the jazzy instrumental provides. "Volvo" is another example of shockingly forgettable bars, I just end up tuning out of any of the lyrics and just focus on the very alluring guitar sample production.
Not only is Kota, not the most interesting performer, he also can be frustratingly repetitive and uninspired at times. The lyrical content in nearly all of these tracks can boil down to some key phrases. After a while, tracks like the closer "Everything" become painfully predictable. Same goes for the production, which is consistently sunny and full of acoustic embellishments. Which isn't necessarily bad or anything, it simply becomes tiresome after Kota continuously repeats this formula. Once you've heard a couple Kota songs, you've heard a majority of what he has to offer.
Which doesn't even bother me that much. Considering that "Everything" has a handful of memorable highlights where Kota masters his formula. The aforementioned "Summerhouse" has one of the most memorable choruses on the project along with one of the smoothest beats with a handful of relaxing embellishments like the sax outro. As derivative as the track "Away Park" might be. I can't help but really love Kota's trademark soft-spoken vocals detailing specific scenarios, which sweetly paint a picture of innocent romance. Although, the features here can be quite irritating especially the 'tobi lou' feature on "Morocco". "B.Q.E" is definitely a highlight where all three deliver some enjoyable verses to make one of the more energetic and engaging tracks on the album. Not even gonna lie, I didn't think I'd say this. But, Bas is the best performer of the three with a handful of quotables.
Above all, Kota The Friend cuts a lot of the filler and awkward detours from "FOTO" and further refines his cheerful and sunny aesthetic. Even if this album's replay value is severely halted by Kota's refusal to expand his sound. The clearer and sharper direction of "Everything" makes this my favorite effort by Kota.
BEST TRACK: "Summerhouse", "B.Q.E", "Away Park" "Lakeith's Interlude" (Marry Me, Lakeith!!)
WORST TRACKS: "Morocco"