Basics: San Diego born, RoQ'y TyRaid (né Jacob Raiford) has since moved to Phoenix to try and make his new name. I say new because Raiford was once known as J RoQ, but as he explains on "Vanguard," "J RoQ is Neo, who was slain / Became RoQ'y TyRaid the anomaly / Claimed as a prodigy." So Phoenix has its RoQ'y Tyraid and YAFI has some all-too-rare hip hop from a rather angry, combative dude in RoQ'Y TyRaid.
Best Song: Raiford has a lot of vitriol towards other rappers in the game, kicking off his album with a nice assessment of them, "I'm surrounded by a bunch of fucking losers / How 'bout y'all hang y'allselves and be useful." That pretty much sets the tone for Raifords "fuck you" attitude towards his peers -- something he spends far too much time rapping about on his record.
That all being said, "Children Of Men" has a nice neo-soul vibe to it, a much-needed change of pace from Raiford's otherwise pissed-the-fuck-off rapping. It has a harmonious guest vocal from Lauren Winston and the beat is as smooth as it gets on the album. There's a more positive vibe to the song, something sorely lacking from the majority of Raiford's other tracks.
Worst Song: The aforementioned "Vanguard" has some rather interesting lyrical content, to say the least. This country was founded on basic rights, one of those being freedom of speech. I'm not going to criticize Raiford's choice to voice his opinions in his lyrics, but I will say that the dude needs to pick his battles. When Raiford raps, "Tangent! / I think Obama's a piece of shit / Take your health care plan and shove it up your ass and eat a dick" absolutely nothing happens -- although it's nice that he warns his listeners about the upcoming political diatribe. If anything, the lyric probably pisses off listeners and makes them wonder why he would bury such a defiant sentiment in the middle of one of his songs like that. He can't perform that lyric live and expect the crowd to get behind him in any way. It's far too decisive for something like local Arizona hip hop, to be quite honest. Again, I'm all about free speech, but you have to pick your battles.
Suggestions: Don't fucking worry about what other rappers in the game are doing or how they dress or whatever else about them might piss you off. Relax, take a step back and rap about what you know -- rap about what makes RoQ'y TyRaid so unique. People say it all the fucking time, and I'm about to say it right now: if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't fucking say anything at all.
If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to have your music reviewed in You Asked For It (our first-come, first-served and often harsh record review column) please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:
Michael Lopez You Asked For It c/o Phoenix New Times 1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix , AZ 85034