Review: Larry June, ‘Spaceships on the Blade’

Frisco’s finest levels up on his latest effort, lacing the masses with messages of a luxuriously healthy lifestyle.

It’d be ignorant to disregard the massive run that Larry June has been on for the past few years. The heavy-hitter hailing from the Bay Area managed to bounce back from a shaky situation, striking gold by going the independent route while infatuating listeners from across the globe in the process. Larry’s rigorous hustle, a retrospective of the early 80’s “out-the-trunk” methods, has gotten him to many high places, rubbing shoulders and building with the game’s most influential icons; but, Larry June’s latest record shows signs that the former street hustler is ready to take the next step in his career.

Larry June’s Spaceships on the Blade is another relaxing cruise, taking time in between the activities to preach health and financial freedom.

Photography: instagram/ripmiggs

The stuff that Larry June talks about is fairly simple for the most part, but holds the same weight as content from the genre’s most beloved acts. Many would think its all cars, cash and women when it comes to an artist like Larry, but that’s just the Bay Area swag laced in his rhymes. For those looking beyond the surface of his daily routine, the Frisco native is always making sure his fanbase stays healthy and wealthy at all times. Larry’s studio sermons will ensure every listener gets a taste of the finer things in life, serving as a universal hustling soundtrack for those who stay tapped in.

June does a good job of keeping the audience entertained throughout the experience, but it would be disrespectful to neglect his star-studded cast of contributors. For someone who keeps his circle tight, this project grasps a good balance of features from friends, both old and new. The album’s feature roster is diverse, but still manages to stay in the realm of June’s sound. From Syd’s additional vocals on the spacey “For Tonight” to Curren$y’s verse on the screwed-up “5.0 Chronicles”, each feature achieves the task of adding their twist over Larry June’s esteemed sound.

Larry’s no stranger to experimenting with his vocals, allowing them to travel wherever the beat takes them. That being said, this project sees a lot of improvisation from Larry, who effortlessly shifts from savage sixteens to leisurely harmonies over the span of the track list. But, the Bay Area hustler is at his best when he’s flaunting a braggadocio flow. Records like “In My Pockets” and “Don’t Check Me” are textbook June, radiating an authentic and carefree aura that’s guaranteed a few head nods. Truthfully, Larry isn’t a complex lyricist, but each verse he spits will always leave you with something to remember.

Spaceships on the Blade taps in to the regional Bay Area sound for its base, simultaneously making the effort to branch out of the homegrown sound. Larry June’s music is notorious for the consistent use of trunk-knocking bass and retro synth keys, with a dash of soulful loops added here and there. With the help of producers from Cardo to DJ Fresh, the project is able to maintain a cohesive sound that best represents Larry’s artistry. Whether its a late-night cruise or an early morning drive to work, this album wields the range to be played on any occasion based on the production alone.

For an artist who keeps the content references local, Larry June does a fantastic job of touching different bases on Spaceships on the Blade. The Bay Area native takes it further than the valley, showing listeners there’s a different world past the city limits. For example, the album’s lead single “Private Valet” casts an exotic aura, simultaneously reminding listeners that the game loves no one. Larry’s always been transparent with his hustling past, mixing it with his braggadocios flow and healthy lifestyle, but this is the type of messaging that helps evoke growth and reminds people to stay legit.

Though the Frisco icon goes beyond the city’s boundaries on this project, he never fails to show hometown love on each project. As mentioned, this record is littered with a gang of North California references. Whether it’s journaling a series of average days in his city on “Another Day, Pt. 2” or shedding a light on his favorite spots in the city through “Corte Madera, CA”, Larry June will always find a way to pay homage to a city that molded his artistic personality. This homegrown appreciation is a major key to the albums success, showing listeners there’s more to the Bay Area than pimping and macking.

Stylistically, Spaceships on the Blade is the essential Larry June project, epitomizing his hustling hymns at their highest level. From embracing the city’s culture to stepping out into the international airwaves, this project holds it all and serves as a stepping stone for Larry’s success as he continues to elevate to the next level through this album. This record is a definite standout in the yearly catalog, serving as a musical zenith for long time fans and a great base for new listeners to begin their journeys through Larry’s wide array of classics.

8.5 / 10

Best tracks: “Don’t Check Me”, “I’m Him”, “Private Valet”, “For Tonight”, “In My Pockets”, “5.0 Chronicles”, “Breakfast In Monaco”

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