Joey Purp is the definition of next generation Chicago. Along with his SaveMoney crew, composed of Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, Donnie Trumpet, Towkio, and Kami de Chukwu, Joey Purp might be the only one to most accurately carry on the torch of the Chicago sound. While Kami & Vic sound very West Coast while Chance and Donnie work towards shaping this next generation of Chicago rap to their specific sound, Joey Purp seems to be riding the sound that cemented Chicago in the rap world back in the early-mid 2000’s.
Tracks like “Morning Sex,” “Money & Bitches,” “Cornerstone,” and “Winner’s Circle” sound like “We Major” from Kanye West’s Late Registration is Joey’s favorite song, especially when it comes to “Money & Bitches,” but overall iiiDrops has a very early Kanye feel to it. When it’s not overtly Kanye production sounding however, it still comes off Chicago by sounding like Lupe Fiasco, such as tracks like “When I’m Gone” and “Escape,” reminiscent of Lupe’s The Cool or Food For Liquor, which came out around the same time as Late Registration and even featured some Kanye production.
Even with “Godbody,” where the beat sounds almost Wu-Tang, like if Kanye had produced a beat for Ghostface Killah. The remaining tracks, like “Girls @” and “Say You Do” sound resoundingly like early Neptunes production, which was rampant around that time (even though they’re not from Chicago), but features like Chance the Rapper still ground it in Chicago styling. The most original sounding track is definitely “Photobooth,” but it still has that new Yeezy groove to it, as well as being the coolest sounding track on the record.
Not to say that Joey isn’t original by any means, it’s just interesting to hear how much these specific influences of Kanye, Lupe, and Neptunes had on the next generation of Chicago rappers. Most of the record’s “greatness” might come from the production, but iiiDrops does have Joey at his best thus far. He still needs a better understanding of hooks, often repeating phrases ad nauseam like on “Say You Do,” but it’s nothing that can’t succeed when it’s a good phrase, like on “Money & Bitches.” Joey Purp should take a few notes from Joey Bada$$, someone who’s a big fan of the ad nauseam chorus. Maybe they can bond over their similar forenames.
Where iiiDrops succeeds in showing Joey Purp’s versatility, it’s very loose in switching themes between tracks, with the production the only thing holding it together. Nonetheless, I think the SaveMoney crew has been the most impressive rival to TDE when it comes to today’s rap music. Joey shows a lot of promise as Chicago’s next big thing, and while I’m not in love with every decision made on this tape, I’m definitely excited for what he can do with a concrete idea on his next project.