For Rockwell Powers, life’s never looked sweeter. He just got engaged to a lovely woman, he’s begun chasing his political aspirations, he writes articles to support his fellow artists for the Volcano, and more importantly he’s doing what he loves by making music. With the recently released album, “Kids in the Back 2” produced by Ill Pill, Rockwell shares his inner demons and the struggle he has gone through to reach this direction. Life’s not perfect but he wouldn’t have it any other way. As its title says, this is the sequel to their first album together but their older. Now in his mid twenties much as myself he speaks about many issues that many adults struggle with fresh out of college these days. It’s told that by twenty two you need to choose what your going to be but Powers reassures that its perfectly normal not to do so.
With the assistance on most tracks from the previous collaborator on his last EP, DJ Phinisey, the album also boasts empowering guest features in State of the Artist, Sol, Peter Baldwin, Scribes, Grynch, Ra Scion of Common Market, Geologic of Blue Scholars, Can-U and the assistance of his band 10th & Commerce playing on one. In addition, by this point music videos have been released for the Intro, “These Songs,” “Head Up,” and “One Chance” with the pre-release singles having been “Life” and “I Swear.” Through it all Ill Pill may not say a word, but his beats thouroughly compliment Rockwell and speak their own messages on their own.
As is the case in most releases, a freestyle starts the release with a greeting to his world and a “Welcome to the Back.” In it he describes the concept that this is not a record for the flashy ones but for the ones that really do stay true to themselves and be themselves. To further explain the concept “The Anthem” follows introducing many of the themes that are to come in the record about still being a kid in your mid twenty’s and not a completley focused individual. Through it all its the next song with DJ Phinisey on the chorus that explains what keeps him moving in his life, “These Songs.” Despite how many times people have told him to put down the mic and get a “real job” he has stayed with what his passion was. To further explain his confidence in his choice he lets it known in the next track that “I Got This.” He’s good at what he does and nobody can tell him otherwise. The first pre-release single with State of the Artist follows showcasing the struggle of making ones dreams happen in “I Swear” where he explains that he has to work extra hard to make this musical dream actualize when a 9 to 5 dominates his time out of unwanted neccessity. Through it all one must do as the following track says and keep their “Head Up.” Through all the confusion of not being set and secure in one’s life one needs to stick up for oneself because nobody else will. The second pre-released single follows with recent UW graduate, Sol called “Life.” The points of the previous track are further emphasized as in this sea of six billion of us that we’re all struggling to find what we want to be. He realizes his age in “Never Grow Up” as he laments on the fact that his age does not seem to defend his realities. He’s acting like a responsible adult more and more by the day but he still struggles with the exact same problems that he did five years previous. He still does the same things but they all mean more to him now. His choice to be this way is explained with “One Chance,” as he breaks down that we really do get just one life and if dreams are given up on than they will be regretted.
The negatives of that decision seem to summarize the more somber second half of the album and are lamented on the next track “Us” with a single verse where he explains that sometimes he doesn’t want to be a kid in the back and easier to just give up on it all. The “Reflections” follow with an assist from Peter Baldwin where his heart for others is addressed. He can’t seem to let others in as they’ve all turned on him and left him just to focus on himself. All he has left is his messages and as an emcee he has the opportunity to “Bang it” until they listen on the following track with Scribes. “Doubt” is next with the assistance of his band 10th & Commerce where he remembers the mistakes in his life and that he could have done things so much better. A relationship he regretted ending is adressed next with the help of DJ Phinisey on “Departed.” Finally, with the help of verses from Grynch and Ra Scion, the realization is made that no matter what the outcome that happens and the stereotype formed about his person made is that the only thing he really cares about is that people acknowlege that it was done “My Way.” The concluding song of “Kids in the Back” follows where he just explains with Geologic, Can-U, and DJ Phinisey that through it all he’s just trying to find “Piece of Mind.” He needs to stay humble and he needs to stay being that kid in the back so that someday he can truely be wise.
This record is a complete album. Each track is its own message with the larger themes being banged throughout. As a person of this age and dealing with these issues I felt it spoke to me personally more so than any record I can care to remember lately. I t was honest and it was passionate while at the same time Ill Pill kept me vibing throughout. After taking some time to reflect on my own life and to be renewed with the passions to support the stong spirits of talents out of our great Northwest, I am ready to make my own dreams happen. Thank you Rockwell Powers!
Make sure you buy his album for just $5.99 on amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Kids-In-the-Back-2/dp/B004RFX4D4.
To tell Daniel Belles (D-Money) about your album or mixtape for him to review it please email him at [email protected] or contact him at Facebook at www.facebook.com/dmoneyoffical.