Album Review: Bill Israel

Kodak Black’s Bill Israel

Kodak Black’s new album Bill Israel is full of bangers that serve some real chill quarantine vibes. This album has been highly anticipated since Kodak Black has been incarcerated and is releasing this album from behind bars. It features big names including Tory Lanez, Gucci Mane, and Lil Yachty, to name a few.

It opens with Remember the Times, a reflective track that looks back at Kodak’s past as he laments being locked up while his friends died on the outside. A melancholy piano on the beat brings out the pain in Kodak’s words throughout the track, and you feel it when he says, “They don’t even know how I’m feeling inside.” The layered synths under the piano make the track feel epic, especially when they raise octaves in the chorus. The best part of the song is during the second verse when Kodak drops into a singing cadence before the chorus comes back. It adds a cool, interesting texture that’s a welcome stylistic change.

Remember the Times is a strong song lyrically, as well as in tone and emotion, and the decision to use it to open the entire album was a miss for me. I would argue it’s the strongest song in terms of content because it feels current and relevant to his situation which will resonate with listeners. But being that it’s such a strong song, the tracks that follow end up falling flat. For that reason I feel it should have been placed further down on the track list to give something to look forward to when hearing the album in its entirety.

Beat production on Bill Israel is solid. Every track is a jam with a lax groove which makes this an excellent album to bump during quarantine. They’re pretty standard trap beats but every song hits just a little different than the one before. There aren’t any epic bass moments which are always nice when you take a late night cruise, but there are a couple of good ones in there. My favorite beat has got to be Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe because it has this easy, breezy quality. A whistle-tone melody keeps the energy light and airy so that the song has an overall fresh feel.

I do wish that more of the tracks on this album felt as personal as Remember the Times. A lot of the songs feel like they could have been written at a different time in his life and I think that’s why they don’t hit as hard lyrically. If the energy of that song was consistent throughout the album, then that could have really set this record off. For that reason Bill Israel gets 3/5 stars. It’s a pretty good album as a whole, but it feels like there was just something missing.

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