Take the Q line, or maybe the D, perhaps taking the F, whatever picks up the masses and transports them in NYC; Your Old Droog will be happy to accompany. His newest record Transportation is a cascading flow of jazz and sporadic instrumentation that travels like an iron horse into the mountain range that is Manhattan. The 49-minute long train is a ride that experiments well with his gruff, microphone controlling delivery that almost effortlessly combines authenticity with New York staples of sound.
“Never cried about a lack of press, rather be a dope failure than a wack success” Droog explains on the opening MetroCard swipe “Stillwell Baby.” The track is a fantastic transition from a The Elgins sample where “life is so lonely without you,” as the car switches tracks and allows Droog to gently rise through this grogginess in his rhymes. Already a heavyweight through lyrical ability, Droog uses the production from skywlkr as a warm-up that eventually moves into a less somber, more upbeat style of track. “Stillwell Baby” is important to highlight though, as the first track on Transportation contains more beat transitions and style switches where Droog does batting practice, acting as the Ralph Branca of rhymes.
Transportation feels and behaves as if it was a mature, graduation act to an already developed performance from Droog. As “Monthly” follows, the raging flutes and jazz house percussion pushes the vocals to be rushed but still collected. Never flustered under pressure, Droog punches a clever wordsmith title as he illustrates complex storytelling without becoming overbearing. More of a display from The Purist who produced “Monthly,” Droog pairs well with the instrumentation but never stands on his backfoot as Transportation continues to move without a sense of falling to a stop.
Later in the record, the track “SS YOD” uses a slithering bass line that reflects something straight from a speakeasy. As it crawls around the listener, Droog explains over these walls of sound describing, “…rather crack a six-pack and pour another beer up, then hit a line of white. I’m smoking double green, doing Beatles numbers, Yellow Submarine.” Even under the guise of 15-tracks, Droog somehow creates a current flow of sound that transcribes New York in a single train ride.
As the terminal seems closer and closer, Droog dismounts from Uptown, cruises through Midtown and then eventually hits Downtown before seeing the mountains of Manhattan sprawling out. Lighting a loosey and stepping off the platform, everything seems to fall into place as Transportation leaves the station and trails off to repeat the whole journey again tomorrow.