There’s something to be said about releasing albums online for free with the intention to sell it later. Sure, it’s a nice gesture to provide listeners with a full project that highlights your hard work, but unless you’ve become an overnight celebrity like Drake, there has to be an incentive to get people out to the stores, or God forbid, click a few buttons on iTunes to make a purchase of an album that was once free 99. In DXnext alumni U-N-I’s case, A Love Supreme 2.0 includes a handful of new tracks, as well as an exclusive DVD that captures the creation of their sophomore street album.
The most notable addition is the groups lead single “Land Of The Kings.” Over triumphant horns and callous drums, U-N-I proceed to map out their dominance. Whether it’s Thurzday describing a chess analogy or Y-O’s confident words ringing out, “Land Of The Kings” stands as a flat-out solid record. When a remix of a song is included on albums, it usually becomes the inferior version. That is not the case here though as producer Ro Blvd takes this same record and flips it into a chopped-and-screwed edition to honor their featured guest Bun B, who does a valiant job claiming his own stake. “Pussy,” another track that wasn’t previously on A Love Supreme, takes shots at everyone under the sun. From incompetent labels to safe artists, so-called fashion experts and fake gangsters, nobody is safe from the lyrical darts thrown from U-N-I’s repertoire of rhymes.
A handful of tracks on A Love Supreme 2.0 were reworked from the original project due to sampling issues. While this decision was an obvious choice to make from a business standpoint, the results varied for the possibly offending tracks. One example is “Hollywood Hiatus,” which sampled New Edition’s “Cool It Now.” Though it’s still playful and house party-approved, the melody and sonic bounce of the new record just doesn’t capture what was once heard. Also, without discounting the exemplary story telling provided on “Pulp Fiction” featuring west coast counterpart Fashawn, the vibe of the track loses its intensity due to unfitting adjustments. To be fair, these differences could be viewed as nitpicking, however, it’s evident that changes affected the overall landscape of a few tracks. With that said, the changes made on “My Life” successfully turned an ambitious album-opener into an emotionally powerful statement channeled through the Inglewood pair. Over studio drums, guitar, and keys, a Neo-Soul vibe takes the listener on a euphoric journey that could only be matched by the possibility of hearing this record live with a band.
With Y-O and Thurzday building their lyrical chops for their official debut, A Love Supreme 2.0 is as much of a success for U-N-I as it is for Ro Blvd, who shows his versatility and lyrical awareness throughout the 19-track album. Take for instance the record “Voltron,” where Ro Blvd’s booming production perfectly complements the lyrical tirade U-N-I embark on, or “Calendar Girls,” an ode to every girl of the week. With an upbeat, club-friendly vibe, it just simply fits. Then, when the duo decides to slow things down and turn introspective on “Black Sky,” Ro Blvd is right there to lay out the perfect sound bed as gloomy synths guide their melancholic words.
Though A Love Supreme 2.0 is not necessarily an upgrade from its predecessor, it still grasps the same essence of a Rap duo and producer who have a lot to offer this current generation’s musical tastes. From women to fashion to the future, U-N-I exert in rhymes what most men in their mid-twenties care about. And despite what people may perceive typical rappers from Los Angeles to sound like, U-N-I stay true to themselves; now that’s a love supreme.