Although the provision of a dense concept album with meaningful lyrics and production from the likes of Boi-1da would seem out of place for a novice solo artist, don’t let the short discography fool you. California native, Price, has been spending ample time finely tuning the skills we would come to witness in CLRD.
From his 2009 signing to Interscope Records as part of the prolific duo, Audio Push, to his successful collaboration with Pink Sweat$ for the soundtrack to HBO’s Insecure, this has been a long time coming.
With this in mind, it seems fitting that CLRD. takes place in the context of a school day, as we find the unique lyricist eschewing mainstream braggadocio raps, in favor of his plans for maturation. On “RUMORS” we get a succinct vision of his self-esteem, as he prioritizes not the way in which others perceive him, but the innate integrity of his acts.
As the album’s second of eight tracks, it helps establish a motif of Price recognizing that life as an up-and-coming rapper is far from insulated from systemic societal flaws. Recognizing his place in society as a rapper, a male, and especially an African-American, is in essence the lesson he acquires throughout his “class”.
Despite the recognition of arbitrary roadblocks he knows are likely to stand in his way, Price shows no sign of diminished ambition. He still aspires toward love and social prosperity as evidenced by “WATERMELON”, wherein he reckons with the struggle of trying to be a king in society, while also telling a female love interest “I know what’s seen I helped you unlock your inner queen”.
Even with the brief trip from “RUMORS” to “WATERMELON”, and in turn from “WATERMELON” to the end of the album, Price doesn’t waste a moment. He stresses every syllable just as he stresses his rhetoric of confidence in the black community, until the album’s end, “TUSKEGEE”, where he asserts, “Stop. Black man, know your worth.”