The self-proclaimed ‘Queer Rapscallion’ of the rap game brings us Like YOU!! via all major streaming platforms. Like YOU!! features 8 tracks (bonus track included on Bandcamp) chock full of witty and gritty verses. Alfred’s content only shies away from modesty and passive voice; “but nowadays you can’t separate your artwork from the promo,” raps the 23-years young emcee. Their braggadocio mixed with their unapologetic queer attitude makes for hilarious, uncomfortable and intelligent commentary on their place within the seemingly bland musical landscape.
Production is deftly handled throughout the album, which is quite a feat considering that there are several producers co-creating these dirty gems. My Name highlights Alfred’s affinity for call-and-response as well as Yung Pockets’ vision for a live drum-oriented séance to their rap collaborator. Jump around to Tales of A Queer Rapscallion and you hear Alfred viciously promising to “set ’em in the sediment today,” over Matissmo’s smoother and water-like beats. Perhaps my favorite track, Niggas Wish, positions Alfred in their rarest form over a heavy bass-laden beat from another Richmond artist, YOKI.
Linked above, LIKE YOU (Yes, You!), gives a visual peek into the mind of the dark gospel arbiter and the images are jarring. Alas, where there many places Alfred shines, there are some shadows that hide within the album. While the production on the album prompts more than a head-nod, the production value leaves much to be desired. The beginnings of Games (Lullaby for Mom) give us a very intimate moment between the emcee and their mother but this moment is lost in her poor vocal quality. I don’t imagine that she volunteered to come into the studio with Alfred, however, between all of the talented engineers collected like infinity stones on this album, I would expect there to be uniform audio quality throughout the project. The Ointment (For My Lonely Soul), also has this issue of mixed audio quality. The idea of including an audience into a live-recording, jam session or even intimate conversation within the artist’s life is an imaginative move that cost production value, nonetheless.
On the whole, Alfred and every artist that they handpicked to bring this dark gospel rap album to life did a solid job. Between the Steven Universe blurbs, dick-sucking innuendos and biblical references, the album proves to be contemporary commentary on the old world versus the new. Despite some lack-of-polish issues, mixing inequity and the shorter length Like YOU!! works to send a loud message to fans and competition, alike.