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Music Quickspins

QUICKSPIN: Lyrical Lemonade—ALL IS YELLOW

Video director Cole Bennett rounds up his famous friends for the debut Lyrical Lemonade album.

Cole Bennett made a name for himself and his media company Lyrical Lemonade in the late 2010s by directing rap music videos. With his unique editing style involving bright colours, and quirky effects, he rapidly established himself as a go-to director and boosted many rappers’ careers during the SoundCloud era (2016-2019). Fast forward to 2024, he has gathered many of these names into one curated, collective album, released under his own company’s banner.

All Is Yellow shines best due to its array of voices. Bennett taps several legends from his hometown of Chicago such as drill rappers Lil Durk, Chief Keef, and G Herbo, and late superstar Juice WRLD. Alongside on the roster are Lyrical Lemonade alumni, first-time collaborators, and underground hip-hop veterans. 

Some of the less likely match-ups make for surprisingly effective crossovers on the album. Melody and melancholy intersect effectively as Latto, Aminé, and Swae Lee join forces on “Special.” Detroit and Chicago link up on “Equilibrium,” as BabyTron and G Herbo sound perfectly collected and laser-focused over an airy trap beat.

For the most part, the record is a standard, trap-influenced hip-hop album. There are moments where simplicity strives; take “Guitar In My Room” for example, whose guitar melody lays the groundwork for a stellar, heartfelt Lil Durk performance. 

There’s also “This My Life”—a simple, piano-based track featuring Lil Tecca, The Kid LAROI, and Lil Skies. The trio delivers solid melodic performances that call back to the music they were making back when they first claimed fame with the help of Lyrical Lemonade. The track is a time capsule that perfectly captures the ethos of the prime Lyrical Lemonade era.

However, on cuts like “Say Ya Grace” and “Stop Giving Me Advice,” the lack of instrumental progression makes it easy for the beats to get stale quickly and drag on for up to four minutes at a time. 

Some of the more interesting production moments consist of other rap styles, as well as deviations from hip-hop altogether. Juice WRLD and Cordae team up on “Doomsday,” a freestyle recorded over a classic Eminem beat in 2019. The track is a clear highlight given their undeniable chemistry, charisma, and knack for wordplay.

The triad of Gus Dapperton, Lil Yachty, and Joey Bada$$ results in a warm, lush piece of groove-heavy indie pop on “Fallout,” complete with a tempo switch halfway through. This same mellow tone defines other tracks as well: It helps the sentiment of sincerity shine on “Hello There,” and lends “Hummingbird” a tranquil feel.

Many of the performances are up to par, though the instances of guests falling flat stick out more than those who give outstanding performances. Ski Mask the Slump God paints by the numbers on “Fly Away,” giving a predictable verse that sounds trapped in 2018 (his signature ad-libs also sound out of place, given their cartoonish nature over a cinematic instrumental). His performance pales even harder in comparison when JID swoops with his masterful display of flow and multisyllabic rhymes. 

Some of Eminem’s disses to Benzino on “Doomsday Pt. 2” come off as cringe, along with the unnecessary stray at the latter’s daughter, rapper Coi Leray. Cochise’s contribution to “First Night” strips him of his best qualities, forcing him into a rather standard performance over an instrumental that is better met by the rest of the track’s features.

Overall, All Is Yellow is a decent showcase of Lyrical Lemonade’s star-studded list of alumni. Although it does not reinvent the wheel, it gathers a large crop of artists and births unique results from otherwise unlikely pairings.

6.5/10

Trial track: “Guitar In My Room”

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