2013 XXL Freshman La’Reonte “Dizzy” Wright attempts to live up to his legacy with his second studio album The Growing Process. The album title is an unintentional double entendre with the more obvious definition being an allusion to themes in the album’s content and the other definition describing where this album belongs on the timeline of young Wright’s career. The Growing Process shows indication of an artist in the process of growth with song structure and genre experimentation, self-expression and ideas centered on conscious development. But in the unfortunate way that growth is accompanied by pain, this album has its fair share of growing pains including cliché ideas and unoriginal flows.
The Vegas rapper doesn’t waste anytime addressing the superficiality of rap fans in the intro “Higher Learning”. The song’s first line states “I heard they praised me for being real but I don’t see the support,” an issue that seems to really irk Dizzy as he later in the song speaks of frustration when his “real” content on youtube “don’t get that much love”. Wright’s recognition that the music business is all a big game deserves respect but it doesn’t excuse the hypocrisy following his proclamations. It was too easy to pinpoint which of his songs had the most youtube views: the song that was the least “real” had the most aggressive beat and mindless lyrics and a chorus about money. Despite the single “Floyd Money Mayweather” being as superficial as it gets, it is actually a fun song and deserved of all its youtube views. It’s bouncy, catchy and just plain entertaining. And since the hip hop community has yet to tire from songs about money, woman and fame, a flashy single to get people moving in the club is almost expected from a rapper on the come up.
In what appears to be the actions of an artist trying to find his niche, Dizzy Wright exhibits a flow that is versatile. Though this flow versatility results in a list of tracks diverse in sound, some of the styles Wright used were far from unique. “Train Your Mind” sounds a lot like Black Hippy artist Ab-Soul with similarities in vocals, flow and even content as Wright raps about the third eye and conscious development. In the following song “Regardless”, I recognized the discernible Bone Thugs N Harmony resemblance well before I reached the featured verse from group member Layzie Bones. The playfully dark beat, fast paced flows and emphasis on the ending of phrases were just a few of the obvious attributes typical of the 90s rap group. Wright does a phenomenal job replicating his Uncle Layzie Bones’ lackadaisical flow and poetic diction but the fact that it is a replica keeps this song from being anything special. Another recognizable flow can be found in “Smoke You Out”. Its cruise-worthy beat and marijuana inspired lyrics scream “Wiz Khalifa Wannabe” because let’s face it; Wiz has a monopoly on your average lighthearted stoner anthem.
When Wright doesn’t piggyback on the styles of peer rappers, his goofy West coast flow can be very charming. “Explain Myself” has a short and sweet verse from Wright, sporting a versatile flow that is entirely his own, featuring fellow Funk Volume record label members Hopsin, SwizZz and Jarren Benton.
The charm really comes into play in the track “Good Vibes”, a feel good jam with blithe lyrics over a jazz-rock fusion beat and new age hip hop sound. This song is one of my favorites because it successfully blending 90s rap and modern hip hop to make a distinctive style. With Dizzy referencing 3 hip hop albums from the year 1995, the 90’s influence in The Growing Process could not be more blatant. Rap isn’t the only genre from this decade referenced in the album; 90s R&B characteristics are also apparent in songs like “No Time is Better”, a track pushing a contemporary gospel feel defined by its inspirational lyrics, gospel sounding chorus and accapella interlude backed by a clapping choir. Wright’s mix of old school elements with new age hip hop is one of the high points of The Growing Process. But without an established identity, Dizzy Wright’s voice gets easily overshadowed by the styles of artists that influence him. The album was good, but Wright has the potential to be better. We’ll just have to watch and see if this young artist can become something great following The Growing Process.