Quando Rondo

From the Neighborhood to the Stage

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From the Neighborhood to the Stage Review

by Fred Thomas

Savannah, Georgia rapper Quando Rondo developed quickly on his mixtapes, polishing up his mesh of Auto-Tuned hooks and melodic delivery. From the Neighborhood to the Stage is Quando's first proper studio album, building on the strength of several viral singles. The production is cleaner and feels more driven than earlier material, though he still gravitates towards moody piano loops and beats that combine meaty trap drums with softly creeping R&B elements. The rapper stays in one of two gears for much of the album: aggressive and threat-heavy flexing ("Out the Gym," "Where I'm From") or mournfully reflecting on all the hardships he had to overcome ("Imperfect Flower," "Emotional Way of Thinking"). He excels at both, but similar tempos, melodies, and production twists tend to blur songs of both types into one another. From the Neighborhood to the Stage rises above its limited range with solid features from Shy Glizzy, Polo G, and BlocBoy JB as well as a detour into sincere heartbroken anguish on "Scarred from Love."

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