Wondering where the next generation of Bay Area hip-hop is at? Elujay, the 20-year-old Oakland rapper and producer, lets everyone know with his highly anticipated release, Jentrify
. The 13-track album features some of the Bay Area’s best, including production by Mikos Da Gawd on “Mrs. Jackson” and cameos by Samaria and Caleborate on “We Don’t Mind.” Although Elujay has been talking about dropping the album for months, the final product definitely proves it was worth the wait.
Elujay hopes that Jentrify
will resonate with listeners as a “soundtrack to to Oakland before all this gentrification shit started happening,” he previously told East Bay Express
in early June. On songs such as the jazzy “580," the musician’s longing for an Oakland that’s disappearing comes across very clearly — both lyrically and sonically. In “No Return,” featuring HBK’s Jay Ant, the rapper vocalizes that We’ve reached the point of no return/Ain’t no turning back now
, mourning how Oakland, after everything the city’s seen, could never return to how it was before its new development and demographic changes. The album finishes strong with “Can’t Wait,” as Elujay sings, I can’t wait too long/Even if you got to go/Even if you got no home.
Through his emotional lyrics and soft beats, Elujay definitely succeeds in building a record that mixes his emotional, personal message with engaging, soulful production to create anthems for the city he calls home.