Ever been on a beach and find a shell that’s really cool, maybe a little rough, but you ask “Why hasn’t anyone picked it up?” Yeah, Roy-al is like that. He’s got cool colors and with a little time being polished by the waves, those rough edges will be smooth. Don’t get me wrong, Roy-Al is Worthy now, and more so with Christ as he so poignantly paints on the record. Some feel that in CHH there are two schools: those that openly speak about spiritual things using spiritual language, and others that veil meaning with more worldly rhymes but let the truth speak. Roy-al and his crew are not afraid to go the spiritual route, which some may enjoy and some may not. Regardless, Roy-al is a deft rhymer. The album comes from the crew at OnFaithEntertainment (www.onfaithent.com) and this is somewhat of a crew record, so you get some exposure to the rest of artists on the label, such as At’Eaze, B.A.M. Boss, QWill, BrandonJ and others.
The title “Worthy” distills the album theme adeptly. Many of the tracks deal with self-worth, battling our inadequacies, and finding our worth in Christ. You Made Me, What Do You Want from Me, Never Own My Own all deal with the central theme. I really enjoyed You Made Me lyrically, exploring what it means to grow older, getting better, gaining wisdom but yet still questioning ourselves. Like Solomon in Ecclesiastes, Roy-Al asks if there really is anything that matters except for knowing God. (I find myself thinking about these things as I read my Bible late at night.) Knocking on Heaven’s door, evolves the theme a bit and moves to what the apostle Paul talks about in 2 Cor 5:6-10 – that this is our temporary home. We want to see God but we want to please Him while we are here. Another track of note is Another Man’s Dream, which addresses us seeing the good things in other people’s lives, such as on social media, but yet not being content with what God has given US.
Across the board, the record speaks truth and at the end of the day, better to speak truth with competent rhyming than to have dope beats. Although, I kept finding that I wanted the beats to match the level of the rhymes. The album feels under-produced for the rhymes with the exception of a couple of the track beds: What Do You Want from Me, Never On My Own are the stand outs. Possibly it could be that the beats are too soft in the mix. The album could have used more mixing expertise with the vocals on top too much for a rap album, and some VocAlign on the group stacks.
Roy Dockery “Roy-Al” is the product of a nomadic upbringing that allowed him to develop a comprehensive perspective of the world from the other side of the tracks. Similar to the story of his urban heroes, he was raised by a single mother, after his parents’ divorce at the age of 3. Roy-Al has been exposed to the overwhelming reality of the black ghetto experience. Attending thirteen schools, moving state to state, and home to home had a detrimental impact on his social skills so he secluded to art as his primary form of expression. Starting with sketches, and moving to portraits, Roy-Al found freedom in art that allowed him to escape the circumstances of his home environment. Transitioning in his teenage years from crafting pictures, to using written words to emphasize his emotions. Writing became a way for Roy-Al to speak about his life and pain in a way that was both uplifting to those who listened, and cathartic to the performer. Attending a Historically Black College introduced Roy-Al to a deeper understanding of community activism, civil rights and the need for a voice of change. Roy-Al is working on a platform to encourage dramatic change in our communities by focusing on three key factors. Literacy, Identity, and Equity are the keys to overcoming the “L.I.E.” that stereotypes project in popular society. Roy-Al hopes to continue to spread his message of change and opportunity to the youth of America, through music, and outreach, inspiring a new generation of leaders to continue the fight for a better tomorrow. “You would never imagine where I have been, from where I am today. The path of the under privilege is never a straight line, but we can still manage to reach our destination”