Pray 4 Love (Deluxe)

Pray 4 Love (Deluxe)

Rod Wave’s sophomore album Pray 4 Love surfaced in April 2020, setting a new high watermark for the Florida rap crooner commercially. Despite its preponderance of smooth beats and sticky hooks, the album retained Rod’s unsparing focus on hard-bitten subjects and psychological trauma. Following his 2019 studio debut Ghetto Gospel by less than half a year, Pray 4 Love was an exorcism of pain—recorded, by his account, in just one month. These songs explore some of the most difficult subject matter of his career to date, from his family’s darkest struggles to deep betrayals by friends, coconspirators, and lovers. Pray 4 Love also evidences Rod’s hunger to harness his burst of creative energy for everything it’s worth. A deluxe edition of the album followed just three months later, expanding the original by 11 songs and revealing just how much he had to get off his chest. His excitement emanates from every moment on the full version of the LP, from the urgency of his recollection of gang banging on “Thief in the Night” to the unfiltered free association on “Dark Clouds.” “Through the Wire,” an homage to his espoused forerunner Kanye West, is especially moving, leading off with the most emblematic Rod Wave line possible—“So much pain built up deep inside”—set to a soaring melody and propelled by a raw, devastating vocal performance. The project is overrun with radio-friendly cuts that bolstered Rod Wave’s already storied track record as a singles artist. Every separately released track came with an auspicious video drop as he found new ways to connect with his fans through visuals. While a full 12 Pray 4Life songs charted on the Hot 100, the ATR Son Son-featuring “Rags2Riches” loomed largest in the rap world, with its combination of swaggering hook and penetrating autobiography. The deluxe album includes the sequel “Rags2Riches 2,” featuring the then-ascendant Atlantan Lil Baby, whose unrepentant Auto-Tuned verse gives the track even more traction than the original.

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