In “Been One,” Rylo Rodriguez, the Alabama rapper, showcases his unique talent for integrating sports references seamlessly into his lyrics. He uses these references not merely to boast but to provide relatable context to his life experiences throughout the album.
Right from the opening track, “System,” Rylo compares his Dodge Ram truck to former Los Angeles Ram Jalen Ramsey and boasts about having more rounds in him than boxer Devin Haney. These references not only make his life relatable to others but also add a touch of humor, revealing that he hasn’t been hardened by his tough surroundings.
The album’s early tracks, like “Right” and “On Da Floor,” set the tone for the rest of the project with their dreamy acoustic strings and interpolations. Even in more contemplative tracks, Rylo cleverly references athletes like Ja’marr Chase and CeeDee Lamb, reminding himself to cherish what he loves.
As the album progresses, Rylo maintains his captivating delivery on tracks like “Free Game,” “On The Run,” and “You’ll Find the One.” These songs adopt Drake’s style with muted R&B vocal samples, and while some themes start to feel repetitive, Rylo’s performance keeps listeners engaged.
Rylo’s ear for beats remains sharp, with tracks like “Unfuckwitable” transitioning smoothly from a crunk-era feel to a more traditional trap beat. This showcases his versatility and confidence in the hip-hop genre.
However, as the album reaches its latter half, the themes thin out, and some tracks sound too alike. Songs like “Leaks,” “Ah Never Be The Same,” and “Taylor Port Junkie” struggle to stand out, revealing Rylo’s challenge in trimming down the tracklist.
While some tracks demonstrate Rylo’s vulnerability and pain, the lack of variety in the latter half of the album lessens its overall impact. Despite this, “Been One” grants Rylo the space to express himself, and with an emphasis on quality and diversity in future projects, he has the potential for greatness.