From the opening track alone, you get a strong sense of where this project is headed. The Queens, NY multi-talent TWO32 brings full force onto “Bragging Rights,” hitting each bar with the momentum of a karate instructor teaching his students how to break a cinderblock. Back Home sounds like the story of a hood superhero told through an R&B lense.
He dabbles in the trap lane, he strips the machismo attitude down and dips into woozy bedroom music, he croons, and then sometimes he just throws bar after bar at us. You often get a combination of a number of these elements. And given the fact he released it on Valentine’s Day, there is a target audience – the ladies. He sets himself apart from the average joes throughout the project, whether as an artist or a lover.
Everyone aims for versatility. Fewer hit the mark. What isn’t lost in the 21-year-old’s clear effort to do different things musically throughout Back Home is how raw and engaging he is as a songwriter and performer. My only wish is we get to hear a little more of his voice. The beat selection is exceptional and fitting but sometimes overpowers TWO’s voice.
He taps 9D4 Ju, Maxx Forbv$, Parris LaVon, and Cruzer Santana to join him on this 25-song journey, and each of their contributions fit seamlessly into the landscape of his tape. A bold move for a young artist only three projects into his career yet it doesn’t feel like too much music because of the different moods it shifts through. And, well…it’s good music. A “vibe” as they say nowadays.
“Countin’ Up” is the moneymaking anthem, featuring Newburgh’s bruising lyricist 9D4 Ju. They’re laser focused on stacking up, and slice throwing the beat as fast as Usain Bolt. It’s all about securing the bag and putting on for these New Yorkers, characteristic of the Concrete Jungle.
“Room For Two” is the night cap. Soft, soothing sounds flow between snaps as he floats over the beat. It’s a simple conversation. He’s got an idea for how they can spend their time, but he just needs her permission. A consent-conscious king. Once he knows she’s got room for two, it’s on. There’s mention of a monsoon and every stroke taking her closer to God. I’ll leave it at that.
“Restless” is joined by Parris LaVon. They discuss the pressure everyone else feels because of them. “TWO will be around for a while, TWO will be the talk of the town.” Their “no sleep” work ethic contributes to the strides they’ve made, and how sharp their awareness is of the next moves to make. People will try them, but they’re always ready. It’s a “hotbox the car” kind of track for sure.
The title track features a powerful monologue from assumedly an important woman in his life, expressing sentiments many listeners share. TWO’s voice is powerful, the strength of his music is the realness. This may not just be a dream, but his calling. Nothing feels fake or contrived. He sticks to his roots, built off of authenticity.
“So Much For a Break” is reminiscent of early 2000’s R&B. I envision him on a doorstep in the rain begging and pleading. His broken heart bleeds over the slow-roasting hi-hat and drums. He’s a true open book. “That shit hurt my soul baby, that’s all I know.” Damn.
“Can’t Get You Out of My Mind” takes that a step further. He’s asking questions about the new guy and even threatening to get rid of him if he isn’t treating her right. Crooning becomes yearning and exclamatory remarks. He can’t let go, and he’s more than confident about what he brings to the table. It’s all about getting the chance.
“Yams” is the booty-shaking anthem, the most upbeat cut off the project. He amps up his flow, toggling between a few different cadences to match the energy. Hell, the right Bluetooth speaker might turn a romantic night between two lovers to a private dub session. “Barry Bonds it, I go all in.”
This is impressive, and a gem within 2019. TWO32 recently blazed the stage at SOBs and surely it’s only the beginning of an exciting upcoming summer. Having already engaged in a coast-to-coast tour in 2018 called “Summer of Love,” the expectation is that he’ll be doing it bigger and better. Tap into Back Home. It’s totally worth the hour and 25 minutes.