Features, Reviews

Review: Quincy Jamal invites us into his heart with “To Whom It May Concern”

A lot of times in life we can be faced with obstacles we don’t see coming. No journey will be without some trials and tribulations so its important to be prepared for it. That being said, preparation alone doesn’t mean the process will be easy. Even knowing issues will arise you have to be ready to bear the troubles and allow yourself to grow through it all.

This is no different when relationship problems may arise. While a split from someone you love may not be the ideal situation one may have in mind, it can still have some benefit in the end. Some people may be in your life to teach you a lesson. Some may be in your life to inspire. To an extent this seems to be the case with Orlando, Florida’s Quincy Jamal. The MC’s debut project “To Whom It May Concern” comes with inspiration from a love lossed and follows the concept throughout. In his own words:

“My mind frame at the time was just dealing with growth, change, and transitions. Staying positive through the obstacles that life throws at me. I had been going through a separation of a 7 year relationship while the album was being written. Listening to the album from start to finish you can hear the real story of fighting for the love, going through the single phase, accepting the real fate of the relationship, moving forward and finally staying positive through every obstacle life has bought to me.”

Things kick off with “Luv”, an introspective track rooted in a relationship that is in a bad phase currently. Though things look a bit bleak at the moment he lets it be known that he is definitely dedicated to his muse and that he is working towards better times for the both of them. It’s a hopeful record backed by a soulful sample that helps to set the tone for the entire project. The production is amazing and it follows a trend for the rest of Quincy’s music.

“Why Lie?” is next in line on “To Whom It May Concern”. In my opinion we get some of the better flows of the album. Lyrically Quincy Jamal is always very aware of what he is saying in his words. That’s no different here but he falls into the pocket of the beat in a good way in my opinion. The hook carries a motivational tone influencing the listener to live in their truth and keep progressing in knowing that in life. Well constructed track.

Quincy changes his vibe a bit on “Everything On Me”. Where a lot of the topics are deep and moody this record gives us as much of a “Party” vibe as you’ll find here. While not necessarily the most energetic track, the laid back feel and braggadocious lyrics bring a different feel. It’s good that he didn’t allow himself to become to monotonous in spreading his message as it’s always good to switch up the vibe from time to time.

Next up is “Culture Shift”, which is my favorite piece of production on an album full of great beats. Not only is the beat fire but Quincy Jamal attacks it with great confidence. It’s here he puts his competitors on notice that his rhymes should not be ignored. He raps with a purpose of turning the culture on it’s head.

“BIW” is preceded by an interlude containing interview clips from some of rap’s biggest names in Jay-Z, Kanye and more. The theme is watching out for self and knowing how those around you can be shifty at the times you need them most. Jealousy is a very real thing and this is the theme of the song. A smooth, vocal backed hook helps to bring the vision to life. As far as concepts go I think this is the most focused and concise track on the set.

The feeling of closure and moving on is what I would use to describe “Best Lives”. If songs like “Luv” and “Why Lie?” give off a feeling of hope in a relationship and just life in general, this is the opposite. It shows the things that can go through a man’s mind when a promising love has gone astray. I won’t give all his lyrics away but he definitely paints some pictures here.

We approach the back end of “To Whom It May Concern” with “Flight To LA”. On this record we catch Quincy Jamal in “the feels” a bit as he reflects on a feeling of loneliness. Have you ever known things were going well in the grand scheme of life but still just feel down? That’s the interpretation I get here as the MC delves into some of the things that trouble him.

The title track follows and is a true standout. It continues the story of a love lost and how Quincy Jamal is coping with that. It still carries a tone of closure but not so much in a sad state as some of previous songs carried. If anything it’s indicative of growth. Lines like, “ain’t better than no other man I sin, feel the hands of the Lord on my back when I grab my pen” help to reaffirm this notion.

On a project that is so highly personal in its subject matter what better way to end than with a good “Testimonial”. Over a sped up sample of Marvin Sapp’s “Never Would Have Made It”, Quincy Jamal shares some of the blessings of his life and how he cherishes them. It’s a victory lap of sorts and a fine punctuation to the album. The track is rooted in religion and faith but never comes off as being pushy or preachy.

In summary, I would say that “To Whom It May Concern” is a strong debut project that shows immense potential from Quincy Jamal. While not totally without flaw, the biggest being a lack of features to keep the pace interesting, it is very well put together. The concept flows well and shows he is able to clearly express his thoughts rather than simply making a collection of songs. It should also be mentioned that he has a superb ear for production that helps to bolster “To Whom It May Concern”. All in all I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend the album to those looking for a new lyricist to add to their rotations.

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