TwonDon is releasing his anticipated project, Paradise Isn’t Free, on May 8th. Reigning from New Jersey, Twon has continued to make a name for himself and with the release of his attention grabbing “Letter to Folarin,” a project was more than due to bask in the moment. While the EP is on the way, it was more than a pleasure to sit down and get an early listen and provide a review.
When you think of paradise, what comes to mind? Well, to help you gain some clarity, paradise is aligned with being a term for timeless harmony. So, if we want to dig deeper, that timeless harmony comes with a big price, hence why it isn’t free. Often times we get consumed with the end game but don’t enjoy the ups and downs of the journey that we took to get there. That journey is what TwonDon took us on with his EP, Paradise Isn’t Free.
“Darkest days come before the dawn”
Looking for that path toward freedom in every sense of the word, the destination being “Paradise Ave.”
While paradise isn’t free, everyone seeks to achieve that goal, but are you willing to work for it? Are you willing to go through the hardship, trials and tribulations?
To start off the EP, TwonDon takes us to church with an almost Gospel hymn to ease us into a trance seeking liberation from all that is holding us back from achieving greatness. Breaking free from the chains, Twon is stating his claim as a threat coming for any great that stands in his way if need be. With a demeanor and attitude of a polished emcee, the introduction to the project sounds like victory music.
My City (201)
“These niggas wolves in sheep clothing so we cut their furs and make mink coats”
Twon Don is a proud product of New Jersey, as told by the 201 area code in the title of “My City.” While I’m a product of the Bronx, I reside in NJ, so I can relate in that sense. Regardless of where you are now, you should put on for where you are from. You’re a product of your environment, but how you adapt accordingly is all reliant on yourself. As for Twon being from where he is, a young prophet, he knows the riches is in arms reach and he has to get to the money. In the process, though, he will continue to do it for his city. The only thing is he realizes in order to achieve greatness it will have to be done outside of his city. It’s one of those choices needed to be made in order to achieve paradise.
“…gave me your world and only in time it’s right I’m giving you mine”
I’ll admit, lately I have been infatuated with samples and immediately “Jennifer’s Song” rocks out with a sample of the 1994 record, “Stroke You Up,” by Changing Faces featuring R Kelly. Without a doubt, I get a Tory Lanez vibe from the song, which is cool in my books. I actually could see him remixing this. But for Twon, “Jennifer’s Song” can easily be consider his most personal cut from Paradise Isn’t Free.
Whoever Jennifer is to the NJ emcee, she inspired a potential banger. It’s alright to tap into your feelings, fellas. Don’t let people tell you any different, especially if she’s worth it. I would like for this to get pushed by Twon as this has the opportunity to make noise for him. I am also secretly hoping for a visual.
“Black Bar Mitzvah”
Serving as our second “single” off the project, “Black Bar Mitzvah” is one of two records with a feature. PRO ERA’s own Dessy Hinds assists TwonDon to deliver a political driven record. “Black Bar Mitzvah” catches the two rappers complimenting one another as they offer up their views on such topics like Black excellence and surviving the notion of being underrated and slept on.
Twon set the tone and allowed for Dessy Hinds to come through with his passive aggressive flow to emphasize their notion of desired success in this world geared to not allow for equal opportunities.
“Now the pawn turned king as I’m yelling checkmate”
Picking up the tempo, TwonDon continues to express his frustration with those around him. Feeling as if he has to come and take his, lately the NJ native feels he is next to blow. Rightfully so, the stripes have been earned. “Lately” comes off as a “let me talk my shit real quick” record that all projects need.
Clocking in as the shortest record, it is also one of the hardest hitting. Less is usually more and in this case, he got straight to the point. “We the ones to blow.” Talk it into existence. “Rap pyro out rapping his idols“, we hear you loud and clear. Thus far, the transitioning and sequence builds up to offer a realization of what it takes to achieve greatness and along the way you deal with the fake love among the other daunting obstacles.
Our second track with a feature, “Supreme” is Twon’s first single that helped usher in the anticipation of Paradise Isn’t Free. “Supreme” serves as the realization that everything he is working hard for is now starting to receive the recognition he deserves. “Supreme” started off with a sound bite from Nicky Santoro from “Casino”. Played by Joe Pesci, the scene comes from a conversation he had with Robert DeNiro. In this sense, TwonDon is setting the tone for JAG and himself, comparing themselves to the two characters.
The conversation focuses on one of the two being in the spotlight (TV), but that isn’t needed. Being in the spotlight allows for people to interpret things about you without really knowing you. In this case, our MCs are assessing the spotlight that comes with being a hit-making artist, but using their forum/platform like Ace Rothstein planned to do, to fight back and letting people know they can’t f*ck with them. Most important, you also want to stay true to who you are in the process not losing sight of your integrity.
“The journey to your dreams can have you feeling stressful but we just dying to be successful”
The final track. Our journey is complete. “Successful” brings the entire project full circle. The production right away gave me a Drake, Nothing Was The Same vibe. Ultimately, it’s a perfect segway to transition into an outro. Twon recaps the EP and subsequently reminds us that no weapon formed against him shall prosper. The beat, which is played backwards, is an early indicator to let the listener know that the tape is complete, but also provides some closure as Twon wraps things up. Along the way, you’re going to lose individuals who stay stagnant or are complacent.
Overall, Paradise Isn’t Free is a good listen from beginning to end. There is a record for everyone and the lyrical content delivers on all accords for those who are sticklers for lyricism & story telling.