Ladies & gentlemen – Protoje is back. His latest release, A Matter of Time, is his first full length album since 2015’s Ancient Future. He did release his 5 track EP, Royalty Free, in 2016 and 2 singles (Blood Money & Bout Noon) in the past couple years, both included on this album. If you’ve already heard either of those singles, then you know what you are in for with this album. Both are top notch tracks, but are also not necessarily the stand-outs either.
The album starts off in a bit of a soundtrack fashion and dives straight into a fire track (Flames) featuring the uber-talented Chronixx. Protoje & Chronixx play off each other so well, it’s no wonder he shows back up on No Guarantee; also a rager. Protoje’s lyrical flow is on full display on both of those tracks – as well as the rest of the album. The music (both production and composition) is definitely on point, but it’s his voice and his style that is on full display here. His cadence and patois grabs your attention from the first lyric to the last.
The two singles occupy the first half of the 10 track album and definitely get you moving and tell stories of love, loss and injustice. The guitar hook on Blood Money reminds me of something an old flamenco guitarist would break out in a love song. Move on to Bout Noon and you’ve got a bassline that thumps in the trunk and the chorus (I’ll be waiting on you my lady) will get stuck in your head all day – and that’s a good thing.
The title track, A Matter of Time, finds him flexing his pipes to bass groove and punctuated guitar riff that is an aural pleasure – mix that with a wailing synth line and the track is certainly a stand out for me. Like This, track 4, starts out with a very cinematic feel and moves into a very trippy synth line and make you “…move like this”. Closing out the album are Truth & Rights and Camera Show. Both excellent tracks that will be very fun to hear live – with great guitar licks and some horns – all backing up more of Protoje’s signature lyrical flow. The former punctuated by the smooth voice of Mortimer and the latter with more of that fantastic flamenco style guitar play.
For me, the stand-out track of the album is Lessons. To me, it is a celebration of loving your life and being thankful for what you have instead of coveting what you don’t. Not only is it the most danceable and funky track, but the flow and story he tells definitely stand out. It’s a positive track that will stand the test of time and inspire countless fans to take stock of their lives and be happy with what they have been given.
Overall, A Matter of Time is an excellent album that should stand out as one of the better albums of the year. Start to finish, there is hardly a weak moment and this one will definitely be on heavy rotation for me for quite some time. Certainly, in my humble opinion, his best album to date. Here’s to hoping I see him come through Nebraska sometime soon.