Before the end of 2019, Your Old Droog throws his Kippah into the ring with a less than traditional sound to the newest, 12-track collection of sparked orthodox power. Jewelry is the 35-minute long span that has a solid gold cast of features and an executive producer credit from Mach-Hommy who is able to spin the smooth vinyl cracking like a dreidel through the streets of Brooklyn.
Droog has had a fantastic year through his work on It Wasn’t Even Close and one of the better records of the year, Transportation that showcased his immaculate sense of rhyme skills and production adaptability. As Jewelry begins to fade into frame, it is a similar display of rap dominance that opens with “Shamash.” Droog is nowhere to be found on the first track and instead, Mach-Hommy is able to lead the listener down this candle-lit hallway toward what feels sentimental and ritualistic, especially when that first clash of “Jew Tang” where the instrumental is twisted and almost unwelcoming.
Through “Jew Tang,” the production comes from Quelle Chris and has Droog immediately punching in his verse from the first second. He explains, “Nobody live or iller… Oh my bad, you staying loyal to who? All they do is eat dick and suck blood like them creepy-ass mohels do. Let go my Hebrew national, labels like we can’t cheat Droog, he too rational.” It is this deeply rooted reference buffet that comes bar after bar and is often common in Droog’s writing. While he never posts his lyrics online, it leaves the listener to try and decipher each bar like a piece of some sort of hidden Da Vinci Code.
Even the way that he has a continuing series through “Babushka II“ where a narrator describes, “Be friends with ya Gram,” before rhyming over an instrumental that features no production and stays in a similar lane as “Babushka” which was a standout on It Wasn’t Even Close. There seems to be a line of correlation between each of the releases from Droog as he makes references and even has MF DOOM and Mach-Hommy on a track together through “BDE.” To not only nail two of the rarest features in hip-hop on a single track is incredible, but to hear these lyricists come together for a second time is the three-peat of lyrics that no one thought possible.
Some of the best parts of Jewelry come from the production that Droog decides to rhyme over as it could live somewhere under the 70’s jazz golden years where these funk elements and authentic drums shine like on the self-titled track “Jewelry.” The track has this jungle instrumental that features these Conga styled drums with little flairs of electric guitars and Hebrew-esque vocals within the chorus that is more beautiful than intimidating. It is conflicting but adds to the underlying beauty and love for music that Droog showcases through each release.
While he may still be an enigma when compared to most of the other rhymers and artists on the internet age, Your Old Droog has quickly showcased just why he is so important to highlight. Each release is a different ride through the perspective of a “Jew in America,” Droog explains, who is unafraid to explain exactly how “This is my story. Shalom.”