Album Review | Cloud Envy - Back to the Flows

This album was released on June 26th this year. Before I review this album, I should disclose that Cloud Envy and I actually have kind of a history together. We went to the same elementary school, and I attended the release party for this album, so him and I are pretty much homies at this point. However, I’m not gonna ride this album’s nuts just because we’re friends. It may seem like I’m riding this album’s nuts at points, but that’s just because I genuinely think it’s that good. I’ve already covered Cloud Envy on this blog before, and I’ve liked pretty much everything I’ve heard from him at this point, so I kinda knew going into this project that I would like it.

The album begins with a really longwinded intro which can basically be summed up by “shoutout to the homies.” Again, it’s really longwinded, and most of it just consists of shoutouts, so it might test the patience of less invested listeners. I think it would’ve been more efficient to trim it down to the last minute or so in which Cloud Envy discusses the meaning of the album’s title. That part was actually somewhat interesting to listen to. I’m not gonna pretend to have too much of an issue with this intro being here despite my nitpicks about the length. The first actual song is called The Entitled Ones, and I wrote about it back when it first dropped as a single…
Last year I reviewed an album called Groovy Cat by an artist from my hometown named Cloud Envy. While listening to the album, I found out that I actually went to elementary school with him, which was really cool. Thankfully the album ended up being really dope. It would’ve been awkward as hell if I tore that shit apart and then realized we were from the same area. That didn’t happen though. Anyway, I think this latest track is the best song I’ve ever heard from him. Everything about this just sounds super polished. He doesn’t sound like some random struggle rapper from around the block because he’s not. He’s a skilled MC, and he’s improving at a very fast rate. What’s really cool is that the music video for this one was directed by $wank, who signed to 9th Wonder late last year alongside King Draft. Anyway, the production here is really smooth, chill stuff, and it kinda sounds like something Kendrick Lamar would’ve rhymed over back in the earlier stages of his career. Cloud Envy killed this shit too. The hook is really chill, and the actual verse is fantastic. His flow is really nice here. One thing I didn’t realize until listening a second time is that there’s no profanity at all here. I remember that being the case with his album as well, which I think is cool. A lot of people don’t realize it, but you close yourself off from a lot of potential listeners when you include a lot of profanity in your music because certain people won’t let their children listen to it, and even a lot of adults themselves would just rather not hear that. I think it’s a smart move to keep it clean. I mean, I could never do that personally, but I admire those who can. Check this song out, and lemme know what you think. It’s really dope stuff.
Track 3 is entitled Gunsmoke, and it’s a major highlight for me. The production on this track is honestly really fucking awesome, and the hook here is catchier than COVID-19. It gives me the coveted involuntary head nod every time I hear it. Cloud Envy really went bananas on the verse too. I really love how he spit with a more reserved delivery for the first part of the verse before getting more energetic for the second half. There’s only one verse on the song, but it’s long enough to prevent the song from sounding incomplete. I really don’t have any gripes with the song. I love the beat, and I think Cloud Envy snapped on this track. It’s one of his best performances on the whole album in my opinion. With that said, I think the following track is even better. It’s called And Murder We Wrote, and it’s amazing. I love how jazzy and funky the production here is. This shit honestly sounds like a hit. It reminds me of Digable Planets’ Rebirth of Slick. I feel like it’s the most accessible song on the album, which is saying a lot. This track needs a music video. The production is catchy as hell, and I love the hook. The first verse from Cloud Envy is smooth as hell too.
Semi-automatic, a bodybag, and a hatchet
The middle one's for you when I flow through and cast it
Like Carole Baskin, but no tears was ever active
You should've stayed neutral, it would've suited you best
The second verse from Auhsoj Rekcut is really good too. I liked that reference to Danny Phantom, and I laughed when he rapped about the size of his dick. That shit was smooth, I can’t even lie. I feel like he kinda loses steam towards the very end of his verse, but overall it was a really dope performance. I think the chemistry these two have with each other is undeniable. They’re actually cousins, so it probably makes sense that they sound so good together. They killed this track. I think it’s dope af. It’s followed by another highlight for me entitled OT&D FLOWS. Once again, the production here is very jazzy, and Envy fucking spazzed out over it. There’s no hook or bridge or anything like that on this track; he’s just rapping the whole time. In fact, he never stops rapping. His vocals fade out, but he keeps going.
Flashback on my demons 'cause even they don't judge
I'm learnin' after the chaos, they only needed love
The lack of nourishment encourages some bad decisions
Too deep reminiscin', let me jet from out the past

Since the song has such a straightforward structure, I don’t have too much to critique. The verse that Cloud Envy performed here is really dope to me. I love his flow and aggressive delivery. The song is dope as hell. It’s followed by yet another highlight entitled Me & My Mama. I love how warm and comforting the production here sounds, so it matches the content pretty well. I feel like Elevator Jay would fit over this beat really well. Cloud Envy killed it though; in fact, I’d actually say this is one of the most well-written songs on the album.

The world is very scary, but I'm prepped for it
All the lessons, all the signs, man, I can't ignore it
The gas, I floored, and my feet still stuck
So we in it to win it, and we gon' get it and cut

The song kinda reminds me of Chance the Rapper or Cordae. I like this more than most of the stuff those guys are putting out these days though. Anyway, I think this track is a really heartfelt tribute to Cloud Envy’s mother, and, as a mama’s boy myself, I can always get down with shit like this. The song is dope as hell. Golden Boy has a really nice beat from P. Soul, and I think Cloud Envy spits one of his catchiest flows on the album here. I love how his delivery kinda crescendos over the course of the verse. The hook in which he harmonizes with Keturah Davis is pretty nice, and I like how the beat kinda gets heavier at this point. The song is relatively short, and it feels more like an interlude than some of the other tracks, but I dig it a lot. The production is tight, and Cloud Envy’s flow had me hooked. The song is dope. It’s followed by To You, Pt. II, which is another really dope track. It has one of the catchiest hooks on the project, and I love the opening verse from Auhsoj Rekcut. I really like how melodic his delivery is at the beginning of the verse, and how he eventually switches up to a more traditional flow. His verse is really nice. The low-pitched synths that come in during the hook are really dope too by the way. The highlight of the song for me is of course the actual verse that Cloud Envy spits himself. I just think his flow and delivery sound really good over this beat. The outro of this song is incredibly chill too. It’s a dope track. It’s followed by another highlight for me entitled Streams of Thought. This track has one of the most somber-sounding instrumentals on the project. I think it features some of the album’s best lyricism too.

Look me in my eyes, call me on my lies
Cloud Envy 'bout to blow, the haters not surprised
They knew I had the will, they been knew I had the drive
I took my mind to a place not everyone can find
Invite only, real access to the ones that know me
Caution my surroundings, be careful when you approach me
I wasn't always lonely, happy to push the world away
Nobody said it'd be like this, I guess you was just led astray
Won't let it burn me, your silly verses do not concern me
You study all you want, I promise you will never learn me
I'm onto something new every time that I tap in
Y'all steady bluffin', carryin' straps y'all shoot for captions
Y'all keep that cap in, y'all don't shoot, y'all stick to cappin'

I just love how hungry he sounds on this track. His rhymes, flow, and lyrics are all on point here. This line right here really stood out to me.

Something like It Was Written, but you new to this
If I was an animal I'd mess around and be a fish
Probably 'cause of solitude, and 'cause it's clear and blue
Sharks try and come my way, and they can come and get it too

It’s just a really cute line to me for some reason. I imagined a little animated guppy fish spitting that line. It made me think of Finding Nemo. I love it. That line about how he sees sounds and hears colors was really cool too. The sung hook from Keturah Davis was a nice way to wrap the song up. The track is dope as hell to more overall. It has some of the best writing on the album in my opinion. The penultimate track is entitled Maybe I…, and it’s yet another highlight for me. I love the bouncy production on this track, and Cloud Envy’s flow over it is great. This track also has another really catchy hook that gets stuck in my head every time I listen. The song features an artist named BFK Brizzy, who had a really cool verse. I definitely preferred Cloud Envy’s verse on my first listen, but Brizzy’s verse grew on me exponentially after repeat listens. The song feels like a nice breath of fresh air since it’s way more lighthearted than the preceding track. I think it’s dope as hell. The final track is called Because of Nas & Q-Tip, and it’s a pretty cool outro. I definitely enjoyed this outro more than the intro. Cloud Envy just spits one really dope verse a cappella, and then the track is closed out by what sounds like a clip from a movie. It’s a pretty straightforward track, but I think it works well as an outro. I fuck with it.

This album is dope as hell. I think it’s one of the best albums to come out in 2021 so far. Cloud Envy’s 2019 album proved to me that he was a talented MC, but this album is way more polished. After this I look at him as a legitimate songwriter rather than another MC who can just rap really well. The production throughout this project is top notch, and Cloud Envy’s flow is on point the whole time. There’s not a single verse on this album that I didn’t enjoy, and that includes the features as well. I think there’s a lot of chemistry between Cloud Envy himself as well as the featured artists that he worked with here. I knew I would like this album to some extent, but this surpassed my expectations. I can’t wait to see what Cloud Envy does in the future because he’s clearly a really talented dude. This shit is fire. Don’t sleep on it.


Score: 89 (A-)