It’s not often you hear a rapper create music that is simply about the struggles of everyday life, yet requires multiple listens to fully comprehend. One of the hardest parts preparing for this review of P.A.T. Junior‘s, Learning To Live (In A Day), was simply trying grasp the concept of each song (most of the songs had more than one as well). I was overwhelmed not only because of the content, but because I had simply not expected something this complex. I had not heard of P.A.T. Junior prior to listening to this album so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was very pleasantly surprised by this album. With some of the strongest lyrical wordplay and concept crafting I’ve heard all year, P.A.T. Junior comes through with a project that’ll give hip-hop fans more than enough food-for-thought.
Although this album is short (roughly 36 minutes), it packs a punch. The album title, Learning To Live, is certainly accurate pertaining to the subject matter of the music. P.A.T. manages to touch on a variety of topics pertaining to his life through well crafted lyrics, often making it difficult to understand what exactly he is talking about. A song like “Half Wxlves/The Mask” is a good example of this. P.A.T. leaves clues throughout the first verse as to who these “Half Wxlves” he’s referring to are. You don’t eventually discover who they are until reveals them as “church goers” at the end of the track. It is then that you notice the unique double-entendre P.A.T. uses, stating that while these people “pray” in church, they also “prey” on those who do not share their views or way of life. This hypocrisy is very relevant in today’s society, and it is nice to see P.A.T. touch up on a topic like this.
P.A.T. continues to use double meanings on songs like “The Outlet” and “There’s A Cooler Way”. “The Outlet”, which is quite short, features a banging, boom-bappy beat and is one of several tracks produced by DSTL (P.A.T. Junior is also responsible for a lot of the production on the album). On the track, P.A.T. flexes his lyrical muscles as he compares his music to a power outlet, while also suggesting it as an “outlet” for his creativity: “Find yourself, carve a path of ya own, adjust course, when you think you found you found ya lane, fine tine, adjust more..” “There’s A Cooler Way” is easily the catchiest track on the entire album (seriously this hook is dope). With a solid feature from TheDeeepEnd, this track explores dealing with anger and the ways to cope with it. The title of course states that there is a cooler (better) way to handle anger, but also has double meaning of being a way to “cool down”.
Perhaps the song that touched me the most was “Interstellar”, which features Sonyae and RJ Hatton. The song is certainly an emotional string puller, and features a very moody, aesthetic beat to match this emotion. The song in a nutshell is about reconnecting with loved ones after harm has been done in the relationship. The line “N*ggas ain’t shit is a deadly misconception, I’m hoping my future actions can alter your dark perspective” shows P.A.T. aching for what was once a strong connection with his sister he addresses in the beginning of the song. What makes this song even more unique is that title itself is a reference to the movie, Interstellar. It is in fact referencing a particular scene in the movie where Matthew McConaughey’s character is watching video messages from his son and daughter after leaving Earth for over 20 years. The scene shows McConaughey distraught and saddened by the fact that he was never a part of his children’s lives as they grew older. This sentiment of feeling disconnected, and feeling as if one has done serious harm to a relationship, is shared by P.A.T. Junior on the track (as well as the guest verse from Sonyae).
This album was, in all honesty, a breath of fresh air. To see that there are still artists that take pride in well-crafted lyrics (and I mean WELL-crafted) and creating multiple layers/levels to their songs is really encouraging. Hip-hop heads, and those looking for lyrical challenge, will most certainly enjoy this project. So give Learning To Live a listen, and put your brain to the test as you dig deep into P.A.T. Junior’s reality.