• Tarik Powell

Short, Sweet, and to the Point: Geno Five and Alejandro Play for Keeps

New Jersey is indisputably on the rise right now. People are fighting to ignore it, hugging onto the DMV’s scene as if that has anything on New Jersey’s output. Regardless, great projects keep coming from the Garden State, and Englewood-native Geno Five is a known contributor to this movement. 

September saw the release of his collaborative effort Point Five, entirely produced by Lowland Records’ in-house producer Alejandro (formerly known as Point Blank). It’s always nice when a rapper finds a producer they have genuine chemistry with. Alejandro’s beats are hearty and lush, matching Geno’s attention to detail when songwriting. He’s no stranger to being lyrically vulnerable. This time though, what he’s shared is more refined. Story and sample-driven, Point Five nicely envelopes relatable adventures in temporary passion, regret, and loss.

Photo courtesy of Jaskonnen on Instagram

Point Five opens up with a feel-good track, “Gettin’ Familiar.” As the song continues, you realize it’s not just a general intro to the project, but it’s literally Geno introducing himself to a woman. The beat sounds like when you court someone with full confidence in the middle of a function. No doubt in your voice, just a clear explanation of who you are to someone new. You’re usually are going to get a positive response when you approach someone in this way. You’ll get to second base, third base, and beyond. 

Speaking of third base, “Gettin Naked” gives listeners a new spin on an R&B classic. A smooth slow jam with an edge that keeps your head bobbing. The song isn’t just about sex, though. It’s more so about the attachment that begins after intimacy. “Can you find it in your heart? No I think the shit gone/ It ain’t arthritis but, shorty got the stiff arm.” This is why when you enter these types of situations, you need to be extremely explicit. Nothing is worse than one person thinking about a future with a lover when that lover only thinks of the connection as temporary.

“Gettin’ Played,” the project’s lead single, reveals a reason behind such misunderstandings. “I’m pursuing something romantic when I am unavailable.” Right off the bat, I wanna tell Geno, ‘You can’t do that man!’ Then I realize that when people do that, they usually do it unconsciously until it happens so many times that the individual has no choice but to recognize the pattern. The song does not offer a solution, but it does show Geno’s newfound sense of self-awareness, which is always at the beginning of change.

The next track points to another reason for the behavior above. A bad break-up can ruin a person by making them feel as if they aren’t enough. People might start seeing the work relationships require as futile, but still be inclined to initiate them based on natural sexual urges. However, intimacy is the sharing of energy. The best sex (connection) comes from a balance between two people’s energy. Lack of communication, amongst other things, can lead to problems (imbalance). When those problems go unresolved, and things just end, the imbalance remains as both people go off in opposite directions, broken, only to damage others. “Gettin Hurt” speaks to the emotional outcry of severed partnerships. 

“Gettin’ Thru It” is a motivational track, letting the listener know that as long as they keep going, rough times are only temporary. Guest appearances by Jae Flow and Chris Patrick add flare. After the verses, Geno goes into a short monologue about the loss he’s experienced in 2019. Losing loved ones is never easy, but the memory of those lost is only honored by the actions of those left behind.

“(Never) Going Back” is an extension of the same message, laced over three different bangers. Geno shows his rhyme skills while making bold statements about the current state of rap music. Sonically, it’s a great conclusion to the project. I wanted to hear a lyrical close out to the situations explored in the previous tracks, but the ending skit handled that, albeit in a humorous manner. Then again, the last lyrics heard on this track imply that this project only represents “half of the story.” If there’s another piece to all of this, I’ll definitely stay tuned for it.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable release. Take a listen here. Enjoy!

Cover art courtesy of Jaskonnen on Instagram


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