“The error of youth is to believe that intelligence is a substitute for experience” – Ernest Hemingway
You have to admire the ambition of a young artist like Raury who burst onto the scene during the summer of 2014 with his debut EP, Indigo Child. It was a project that showcased his talent bringing together different aspects from soul to alternative rock to hip-hop. It was filled with sincerity and brutal honesty, while at the same time teeming with positivity that only someone so young and wide-eyed could provide. At such a young age (19), the ideas and views that he presents through his music are quite impressive. So it was fair to wonder if his debut studio album, All We Need, would build up on the revolutionary’s earlier promises that this would be “the best album of the year”, however it falls just a bit short of being the transcendent project that we expected.
The ideas are still there. The passion and sincerity are present. And on the surface it’s good enough. But his age shows in the album’s lack of execution. It lacks the cohesion necessary to bring all those ideas and styles together, so it gives off a slight feeling of being all over the place. He doesn’t really touch on anything new or bring any fascinating new point of views to the limelight, so at times it feels more like something you know you’ve heard before and fades into background music. One might get excited at the sight of the big-name features on the album such as Wu-Tang’s finest, the RZA and southern rap aficionado, Big K.R.I.T, however, it doesn’t help Raury’s effort that much. On the tracks “CPU” and “Forbidden Knowledge,” he is overshadowed by both rap stars who carve their ways through the beats with the skill and ease of artists who have had a lot of time to perfect their crafts.
With all that being said, All We Need is definitely not a bad album. But it’s not great either. What it does show though is the promise of potential. It’s clear that we’re listening to a very young man who still needs some time to grow and solidify his talent. If anything, the ambition that was showcased in the conception and delivery of this album give the promise of greater things to come as he becomes more experienced with age and more projects. And on a very basic level, he just gives off a likable vibe. It’s early, but the loose comparisons to Andre 3000 are warranted. His positive outlook and honesty aren’t enough to carry the album, but they are a big part of who he is and what makes All We Need worth listening to. His talent and clear potential are what will make his future albums the transcendent projects this was supposed to be.