Published Apr 01, 2020The elephant in hip-hop culture conversations has always been time. When is it too late to start a career? When is it time to retire? How much time do you wait between releases? For Toronto rapper Rochester, who first started popping up in the late '00s, time is nothing but a concept, and according to his newest album, Dreams Don't Have Deadlines.
Having first released big anthems "Built Like This" and "Last of the Mohicans" in 2019, Rochester set a tone for the album that is both powerful and braggadocios. It's also one that marvels in superior performance and a captivating character that mimics the grit of street rap.
Rochester opens the album with the gospel choir-led "Still Awake," loosely acknowledging his return to music in addition to a new perspective on life. He dives into that perspective, one that fosters the notion that you should always chase your dreams, on the thoughtful "Perseverance" later in the album. But that introspective outlook doesn't last long, and much of Dreams Don't Have Deadlines centres around roaring drum lines and the fixation of owning the space he wants to occupy.
"Running with the 6 on my back, running like a victory lap," Rochester raps on "Big Dreams." Throughout the album, the semi-veteran rapper maintains the energy of a sprinter ("Lullabye," "Forever") but takes short, almost unnecessary breaks on "Ride That Wave" and "Gepetto," which both feel pointed to "keeping up with the times," rather than sustaining the album's authenticity.
Though the two songs feel out of place on the album, in its 36-minute span, Rochester re-establishes his purpose with vigour, which is to write out his dreams once again, one bar at a time. (Blocktrade)