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Ryan Leslie returns here with his third big feature album. As per usual with a Ryan Leslie album I will give you a brief background about the man as it is just an amazing story. So as a 14 years old he scored 1600 in his SATs which is a perfect score, and soon after at 15 he went to Harvard to do a degree in Political Science and Macroeconomics. Music was always his ambition and clearly he was very smart and well he has then gone on to be a pretty big R&B star, and has produced for the likes of Usher, Britney Spears and he created all of Cassie's debut album which was a no1 hit in the states. Soon after he embarked upon his own solo career and Les is More is his first album where he raps throughout instead of his normal singing.
Les is More is a visual album. He has created a video for each track on his album and there are fourteen tracks. This is a pretty good idea, and primarily for his fans. Personally I am not too much a fan of videos, but if it gains him a bigger fan base then I am all for it, as he is the most underrated artist out there. Ryan Leslie produced each track, sang and rapped on each track, he created the beat for each track, he played all the instruments for each track, he directed each of the videos as well as editing and mastering them, he simply made this album from top to bottom and this is the first time I have heard of an artist doing this and it deserves some respect.
The album kicks off with Glory and this is up there in terms of my favourite tracks he has ever done. He tells a story about how people think he is so under rated but yet he has already achieved so many and how he turned his life around. The track is primarily an electric guitar and awesome drumbeat. This is an easy 5/5 track and he did have many people doubting if he could rap, but he just blows them away in style here.
This is much more of a tune you could expect to hear in a club. He goes hard here with the rapping and much more his normal style of lyrics about girls. The hook is very catchy and is one of the rare instances where he sings in this album. It is a very good track but not in my top few tracks and I definitely wouldn't ever skip it, but then there are very few Ryan Leslie tracks I would ever skip and hence gets a 4/5.
Good Girl then takes over and is back towards Ryan Leslie's older style than you can expect on his previous album Transition. Of course as it is a rap album he still raps here. Leslie has a tendency to flaunt how much money he has and this is a good track about it. He raps about how he can afford gold chains and that he can live the high life but still he has a good girl that deserves everything that he has. The beat is very catchy and this is the type of tune I can imagine cruising in the car to. It gets 4/5 from me.
5 Minute Freshen Up
This track 5 Minute Freshen Up is a real grower. To be honest initially I wasn't a fan but once I really listened to the track it instantly became one of my favourites and definitely has the longest longevity. Another track where at points he raps about he has six 0's on the left side of the decimal, so saying he is a millionaire and is in that top 1% that earns over a hundred grand. Whether that fact is true or not or simply if he put the line is cause it rhymes well I am not sure of, but hey he is a Harvard grad in macroeconomics so must know his figures. After all he does say he is overpaid as the same time that he is underrated. Don't let all this money talk put you of though, its just an awesome track and I absolutely love it. His flow is on point and the lyrics really hit you. You can tell he is loving life and I am loving this so a 5/5 rating.
Dress You to Dress Undress You
This is a very classy track, and the lyrics are very catchy and a track I do enjoy but not one of my favourite Ryan Leslie songs. I got the feeling here with the lyrics he was more focused on getting them to rhyme perfectly and hence show how great his rapping flow is. He does do that, but sacrifices the actual quality of the lyrics. When I say it is a classy track, I am talking about the beat. There is a cool bass guitar and a number of instruments going on in the background. It is a bit of a throwback to tracks from his self-titled debut album he released back in 2009. This is a 4/5.
Maybachs & Diamonds
Now this is a track that Ryan Leslie fans will have heard in one form or another for a few years now. It was actually initially a track with Rick Ross, but I am glad to see Rick Ross has been dropped for the album edition of this track. He has no place on a Ryan Leslie album. The beat is amazing and classily in a similar way to the previous track, but just much stronger. It is a song about how he has met a girl who can stand on her own feet and doesn't need him so he is willing to give her more than just Maybachs and Diamonds and that he can offer her so much more than just the rich lifestyle. It is a great track and very easy for me to give it top marks so 5/5.
Another track revolving around how much money he has, but an amazing track at that. Many of his fans were a fan of the YouTube video he released of Rain in Australia and were disappointed that this didn't make the cut for this album. I think this is due to it having a very similarly backing track to Swiss Francs. He is just showing of here with the heavy beat which really shows off with the Trumpet in the hook. Don't forget he plays all the instruments. The lyrics are primarily about how well he is doing, and how people are mad at him as they don't have his lifestyle. It's just pure class from beginning to end so a 5/5 rating.
Ups and Downs
Similarly to the first track Glory, this is not just one of my favourite tracks in the album, but one of the best tracks he has ever created. Just to add there is a prelude before this track, which is 40 seconds and just builds up to this track so not worth me reviewing. In terms of Ups and Downs the beat has sounds that I didn't even know existed, so I can't even describe it. Lyrically it is about how much he loves the music that he is creating and why he creates his music. This really demonstrates how well he can rap and should quieten down his critics. In terms of the visual releases, this is arguably my favourite he has released so far. I have no qualms in giving this a 5/5 rating.
Ready Or Not
The album takes a slightly different turn for the last few tracks and moves away from money themes and back towards the classic favourite topic of girls. The hook is where he shines here mainly as he sings which is not often in this album. Not that it is a bad thing, but it makes a nice change to hear him sing every now and then. This is not one of my favourite tracks as it is mainly directed to the ladies but I can still appreciate a good track so 4/5.
Lovers and Mountains
Many of his fans seem to have this as their favourite track on his album which I can understand but don't agree with. It definitely is the most unique on the album, and uses some sort of voice synthesiser to mix up his style. Lyrically he is very strong here, and my favourite line is 'No I in team, but I can guarantee there is an I in win.' Again like the previous track he also sings here. I am not quite sure what rating to go for, but I would never skip this track so a 4/5 is fair.
The Black Flag
This is a grower and there more I listen to it the more I love it. The beat is very cool and a mixture of drums and keyboard. It isn't a slow track, but definitely not a club track. I can imagine playing this when in the car, a great cruising track especially during the hook. He shows of with his lyrics here and rhymes a lot of cool sentences together. There is a cool line about how he isn't religious but believes in them digits. So effectively saying he believes about how much money he is making. He shows off about his previous exploits and cover girls that he has and artists that he has played with. I am not sure whether to give this a 4 or a 5, but I have given a lot of 5 rating so will stick to 4/5 here.
Joan of Arc
The last non remix song of the album and one that I am a little indifferent to. There is just some high pitched chiming sound in the background that I don't like. If it wasn't for this I would give this a higher rating. The song is about how he took a chance on romance and now that he has been burned he still yearns for her. I always get the feeling this song is about his old flame Cassie, but Ryan Leslie I am sure has had many girlfriends, so it could be about anyone. I am afraid I have to ruin the pattern of giving high ratings in this album and just gives this a 3/5 which is still decent.
There is also a remix of Beautiful Lie with Fabulous which is not worth reviewing, but it is a good remix and a worthy addition to the album. It shows how Ryan Leslie's rapping can hold up to a seasoned rapper like Fabulous and he definitely adds something a little extra to the track. Maybe he should have made this the original version of the track and I would have upgraded the rating even further. I like how Ryan Leslie changed his lyrics for this version rather than stick to the lyrics of the original.
Overall as you can tell I am a massive fan of Ryan Leslie and this shows from my review and the ratings that I gave his tracks. I think he is one of the most talented artists of this generating and it is a shame he will never get the fan base he deserves. Just to add that he is coming to London soon so I am finally getting a chance to see him perform live which I have heard is incredible. I have to give this album five stars, it is my album of the year and I long await the sequel to this album due out next year.