Fivio Foreign's highly anticipated debut album does have its highlights, but leaves much to be desired.
When Fivio Foreign announced, hot off the back off his song-stealing feature on Ye’s ‘Off The Grid‘, that not only was his debut album on the way, but that Ye was also directly involved as an executive producer, hype grew through the roof.
When the first single for this album, then still untitled, released (‘City of Gods’ featuring Alicia Keys and Ye), that hype continued to grow. ‘City of Gods’ remains the best song that the full album has to offer, for better or for worse – it’s a great song, but having it come before the album hurts the full record somewhat considering that the strongest that Fivio had to offer had already been handed over. That track remains powerful – Keys’ hook is well delivered even if lyrically bland, and Ye’s feature is a pleasant contrast to Fivio’s Brooklyn-Drill flows – but it having been released already meant that the album seemed to sag compared to the expectations placed upon it.
Outside of that track, highlights are few and far between even if it is consistently clear that Fivio is doing all he can to deliver. His flows and lyrics are there, but something larger appears to be missing. The production is largely forgettable following the album’s opening track ‘On God’, and even that instrumental feels greatly indebted to Ye’s production work on Jesus is King and Donda with the religious hip-hop he has been focused on for the previous 3 years.
There are other strong moments here and there – both of KayCyy’s features are impressive, and Vory’s appearance on ‘Changed on Me’ was a pleasant surprise, but the majority of this record crumbles under its own weight. The 50 minute runtime drowns out the stronger moments by overwhelming it with filler – such as the two minute DJ Khaled interlude track ‘B.I.B.L.E. Talk’, which feels like it should have been cut out.
Fivio Foreign has made it more than clear that he has the ability to deliver in serious ways with his ‘Off The Grid’ feature and numerous other appearances, but he needs to hone in on creating something more consistently impressive to make an album that really sticks in the way that his ability should. This isn’t necessarily a bad record, just a disappointing one in that the majority of it is mediocre when Fivio has shown that he can deliver greatness.
B.I.B.L.E. is now streaming via Columbia Records. Listen on SoundCloud below: