Hustlegrade's First Thoughts on Ovie by @royoraps

Our Hustlegrade fam will be collaborating for our First Thoughts on some albums. Roy O.'s ridiculously good new album Ovie is our first, First Thoughts! 


"Lately, I’ve been trying to put my finger on what gives an album re-play value for me. When I was younger it was just the beat. When I got a little older, it was the punchlines. At 27 though, it became about the journey that album takes me on. I require an artist to take me down a rabbit hole that intertwines their story and mine. Our tales, although not parallel, will always cross paths at the essence of it all. The dream. I can’t even recall what my expectations were before I pushed play on Ovie but I can guarantee they were exceeded. If we’re talking first impressions, Ovie has me waiting by the phone for a second date text. 

And I don’t mean getting addicted  to success, to the point it look to you like progress when in reality I regress and repress everything inside of me. Ima learn about the truth, Ima learn bout my mission.
— Roy O. - "A.A."

AA is a declaration. Roy-o uses his first track make it crystal clear that he is not here to assimilate. I’m assuming that is when I threw any expectations I had out ofof this project and this artist out of the window. The soulful grit in Kez Jonez’s voice compliments the testimony that is Ovie/King. The next few tracks introduced me to Roy-o’s versatility. Just when I settled into the idea that I would be floating through 10 airy tracks of daily affirmations, I meet "Swervy Jackson", a  shit talking turn up banger infused with guitar riffs. Considering our generation spends a great deal of our life working hard and partying harder, the transition from "Swervy Jackson" to "Fluorescent" was seamless. 

Busting your ass behind something you love will always reveal the light in you and around you.

This album is for the dreamers. It is impossible to not renew your vows to your dreams and aspirations when you hear Roy O’s commitment to his. I went from lazily listening to this in traffic to plotting world domination by the end of my drive. While his story does not mimic mine, we are both knee deep in dreams in a city full of movers and shakers. Movers and shakers who do not believe in impossible. So as far as first impressions go, I will gladly get punked into another month of a Tidal subscription if it means I get to hear Ovie again."


So I first heard Roy O’s Ovie when Justina and I got to interview him for The Tuesday Special and right off the bat I knew it was something great. He pulls you in with the poem "A.A."  which opens the album and doesn’t let go until the last song and after that you’re pretty much hooked, I swear I’ve listened to it about a good 6 or 7 times since I got it. My favorite song on the album is "Swervy Jackson", that beat, his cadence and the subject of that song... amazing!


I was given the opportunity to do the exclusive first listen of Ovie with Roy O. Tuesday night on The Tuesday Special at All Real Radio. Prior to the interview I asked Joan what we would be doing for Nigerian Independence Day, Roy O. chimed in "I'm going to Prospect Park." Joan asked surprisingly "You're Nigerian?" he grinned and said, "Yes, in Nigeria Ovie actually means King." 

We got our cue for the interview to begin, and we chat a bit before he introduces his album. Roy O opens up Ovie with a beautifully recited poem about him overcoming his insecurities. Then goes into his first track on his album titled "Ovie." There was not one still body in the room. Roy O.'s album took us on an incredible journey of his self rediscovery.  The album first starts off with two tracks featuring Kez Jonez on guitar, who, Roy O. made sure to mention on air, produced the entire project.  "Find your Way" featuring Lee-Lonn was a track that stood out to me. I was mesmerized by the amazing hook and the incredible penmanship of Roy O. He displays his versatility in the next few tracks making them more uptempo and his impressive ability to change up his flow and cadence to match. "Fluorescent" was another hot track that we've heard before featuring Hot Peez. It has a cool bounce flavor to it that makes you have to immediately bring your ass to the dance floor as soon as the beat drops. "Travel Noire" and "Elijah" were the two final tracks on the project that brought the tempo back down to a slower groove. "Travel Noire" featuring the immensely talented Kez Jonez is another favorite of mine with an astounding hook sung by Kez, accompanied by drums, guitar and Roy O.'s gripping cadence as he coasted over the beat. "Ellijah" was a soulful Kanye West inspired track that was so moving Roy O. even confessed to shedding a tear because the song was composed so beautifully.

Overall Ovie is a remarkable project full or inspiration and self reflection  that I encourage everyone to purchase, download and listen to. 


Sometime in 2014, I heard a song called "Stay Tru" by Roy O., while he was completely unfamiliar to me, his sound resonated enough that I had to go listen to his newly release project Hue. Fast-forward 3 years during which time Roy O. released a minimal amount of music but every new track was a catalyst for keeping up with what he had coming next. Last week when Roy O. agreed to be a guest on my radio show, The Tuesday Special, on All Real Radio to discuss his upcoming album Ovie, I wasn't sure what to expect from the album aside from the fact that the single "Fluorescent" featuring Hot Peez was one of the dopest track I heard all year.  During the show, Roy O. played "Ovie" and "Foolie", two tracks from the album that were unreleased and unheard. I am still trying to find words for the feeling I had when Kez Jonez began playing the guitar and Roy O.'s haunting, transparent lyricism flowed through the speakers on "Ovie" or when he spazzed, no holds barred during every second of "Foolie". At one point I almost threw my headphones because the music was just THAT good, and Roy O.'s humble, infectious personality made me and everyone else in the room appreciate it just that much more.

The only thing I could do was ask Roy O. to return this week (as his album was set to release the day after my radio show airs) and do a listening session for the entire album, on air. Blah blah, shit happened and I couldn't make it to the radio station in time for the album listening. So for the first time, EVER I tuned into my own radio show while Tina and Joan hosted in my stead and heard the greatness that is Ovie for the first time.

All the stress of that day (and there was A LOT of it) didn't matter when the intro track "A.A." played; an acapella homage to being different and all of the feelings and revelations that come with it. Acceptance, confidence, insecurities, getting lit, getting lost, and finding yourself; all of that and every other element of the human condition began pouring out as more and more of Ovie played.

My son wouldn't go to sleep, he was sick, I was frustrated with a ton of things in my life but none of it bothered me for the 35 minutes that Roy O. spoke directly to my soul. From "Find Your Way" to "Swervy Jackson" and "Fluorescent", Ovie feels like a soundtrack for life. I tend to avoid finalizing my decision on an album until I have had the chance to go back and listen to it at random times for a couple of weeks but, Ovie took maybe 20 seconds to win me over. R

oy O. poured all of the things within him that we tend to keep to ourselves into a cohesive, stark, fun, raw and really really damn good album, and this is merely my initial take on the whole thing.

Just, do yourself a favor and go listen to Ovie. 


So that is our First Thoughts on Ovie by Roy O. now, go listen to it!

Ovie on Apple Music