New Jersey rhymer Foster hasn’t been seen since he dropped “Destiny” back in 2013. His last album, Bay Parkway, came three years ago, and the artist then known as Vibes was supposed to follow up with King’s Highway later that year. Even though it’s a couple years overdue, King’s Highway has finally released, giving a glimpse of the magnetism the twentysomething rapper showed before stepping away from the mic.
Most of the material on King’s Highway was recorded in the vacuum following Bay Parkway where Foster lived on the eponymous throughway in Brooklyn. Still, none of the material feels dated — if anything, it’s refreshing to hear some vintage-minted rhyming. In this way, King’s Highway is something of a time capsule, capturing influences from a prime-era Lupe Fiasco and Wale, though, content-wise, it manages to captures Foster’s recommitment to the artform he walked away from during the mixtape’s conception.
The most obvious example of this is “Here I Stand”, King’s Highway‘s second track, in which the Jersey City representative rhymes “Can’t wait for the right time, right place/ This is my mindstate.” The song sets the tone for the right-song album, giving listeners some context for the recently re-emerged artist and his hangups about fame and the music industry. Mr. Slackoff, as Foster endearingly calls himself on “Slacker”, a songfilled with gnarley guitar riffs and a drawling chorus that sticks out as a tongue and cheek nod to slack rock as well as conceptions of his own productivity.
But most of King’s Highway is about reassertion rather than self-pity. “Kush Dreams” is one of those blazed-out, ethereal jams that proves how timeless Foster can be though the beat work has a cooling throwback feel. On the back end of the tracklist, “Clappin” is basically one long subtweet directed at people who said Foster couldn’t bounce back from a simultaneous rebrand and sabbatical. “Too Fast” has plenty of regret and ennui, but ultimately, Foster emerges renewed. By purging the baggage of the last three years, he finds new ambition to succeed — an ambition he expounds triumphantly on the closer “Victory”.
To make amends for the lengthy layover, Foster is offering King’s Highway as a free download, so re-welcome the Jersey boy to your hard-drive with no re-entry fee.