Earlier today, Oklahoma’s Jacobi Ryan dropped his first new project for 2021 entitled “Practice Gym”. He kicked things off a week ago by releasing the head noddin’ – with the mean ass confidence – Dylan Graham produced track “I Don’t Know Bout Y’all” and reminded folks he was built to be in the front and not built to be last. Using his own personal experiences and steadfastness, make no mistake, his songs serve to be a source of inspiration and not about his own ego. As referenced in his song “Up Now” from the #52in365 campaign in regards to personal success, “I can’t make nobody see/I can only tell you what it look like” hence, Jacobi is using his creativity as a vessel.
“Practice Gym is an experience of inspiration, resistance, and awareness. The resistance that meets any journey can be as valuable as it can be destructive. Jacobi Ryan paints the Practice Gym as a confrontation of the mind for a vision you fight to keep. A chapter in his story’s beginning from Lawton, Oklahoma…”
“I see you doing your thing/But you should really do it like this…”
“Practice Gym” starts out with the slow, but eerie and ominous sounding track entitled “Started Out” which almost sounds like the haunting by all of his naysayers. However, on the track, Jacobi holds the line with his rebuttal and observations for those that can’t seem to root for anyone’s greatness. (“We started out with nothing/No you see us adding up.”) Jacobi then segues into the pop, electro sounding “Look” where Jacobi delves into the process and mindset of gettin’ shit done and pushing through obstacles regardless, especially when others refuse to see it. (“Look where I’m from/Look where I’m at/Look what I built.”)
“What Made You” is definitely an ode to the place that shaped him, Jacobi’s hometown of Lawton, OK and is one of the hardest and most impassioned tracks on the album next to “I Don’t Know Bout Y’all” and “In My League”. The cold opening lines to the track had me like “Ahhh shit” as he could only be referencing his work on Dr. View’s highly acclaimed “The Space Program – “I pull up in a hoodie with my niggas in a space suit/Straight from out of space/Them niggas came through/They introduced me/I came out that bitch like Ray Lou/And I made a win to play to win the game too…” On the track Jacobi serves as the inspirational motivator (“From the mud the flowers made it…”) serving nothing but praise for Lawton and instilling a sense of pride as a native of “the great 580”.
“I ain’t got nobody in my league/Niggas try to double team me/I hop out and hit a three…”
As I mentioned earlier, “In My League” is one of the hardest sounding tracks on the album. Dylan laced the track with a boom bap and bass heavy sound that where the intro is akin a hypnotic muffled sound coming from the next room inviting you to come in coupled with Jacobi singing the mantra filled, tribal sounding chorus “I ain’t got nobody in my league/Hell nah…”. Again, no ego here, but what else would setting the bar high for yourself with a purpose driven mindset look like right? (“Fuck you expect me to do with this purpose?/I put it first…”) This mindset is also elevated in the lyricism for “I Don’t Know Bout Y’all” and visually cemented in the video of the same title which also dropped today. Jacobi is also big on content when it comes to his projects and today, I took a peak at “Day 1 – Resistance” of “Practice Gym” The Experience, Jacobi’s 5 day online experience that compliments the project with exclusive content. With each micro component of today’s featured online content (no spoilers here) I was impressed with how Jacobi took his vulnerability further using his own experiences in which he stays true to his drive and ambition, complete with bouts of resistance, to prioritize his purpose and motivation. (“Anything possible except satisfying fear.”). You can think of the online experience as a daily creative gift of fan/artist engagement and a chance to be in receipt of the life wisdom that he shares. (“They say the universe worsens the suffering in your life until you become accountable for it’s root cause.”)
Overall, the seven track “Practice Gym” can best be described as a hip hop playground where Jacobi is shootin’ threes and each basket, regardless if the shot is made or not, still comes through “the vessel” as a source of inspiration and knowledge. It’s the effort not the perfection that counts (that’s the message). However, Jacobi’s confidence might dunk on you for time to time, but like he’s also said “conflict ain’t always bad/you need friction.”
You can stream “Practice Gym” on all digital streaming platforms and check out the visuals for “I Don’t Know Bout Y’all” below. Don’t forget to take part in “Practice Gym” The Experience. You can RSVP here. I “earned” my password today to gain access to the exclusive content – yep, next level fan engagement. Y’all enjoy!