Buy the ticket, take the ride. Just be careful where you sit. If you’re getting on the Night Train be prepared to be â€œanother San Fran passenger between do-gooders and contraband traffickersâ€ because Richie Cunning’s San Francisco has nothing to do with cable cars or Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s a city of fog and cold, where poor people get swept under the rug and teenagers get robbed on the bus. And Rich C wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Night Train is a love letter to San Francisco, but not the innocent, puppy-love kind where the subject can do no wrong. No, it’s a real love, an adult love, the kind that sometimes hurts and always leaves scars. A letter to someone who you’ve seen at their best and worst. Someone who’s fucked you over, but who you can’t imagine life without.
Beginning with the first cut, â€œThe Stationâ€ and ending with the final one, â€œLast Stopâ€ the night train is more than just a reoccurring theme. It’s a mechanism that ferries you from track to track, tying every song together, each one blending into the next as if it was the natural repercussion of the one before. It occurs so seamlessly that it seems the only way it could be pulled off is if Richie Cunning produced every track himself, which is exactly what he did. To say it is one of the most cohesive and consistent debuts I’ve ever heard is an understatement.
Sonically, Night Train is reminiscent of every hip-hop album you’ve ever loved, without being derivative. The beats are steeped in soul, blues and jazz, and most importantly Richie can rap his ass off. No really, he’s brilliant. The dude, â€œrock’s a million dollar mouthpiece on minimum wage.â€ And yeah, just like you, he’s broke as shit too. It happens to be his second favorite thing to rap about, falling just behind San Francisco. Peep the track â€œOne Dollar Wonderâ€ to see what I mean.
Richie Cunning calls himself the son of the city, it’s ambassador, and the â€œZen Buddha of the N Judahâ€ but to me he’s the guy who just put out one of the best albums I’ve heard in awhile. The Night Train is here and I recommend you get on board. Don’t worry about keeping your transfer, this train will take you all the way home.
And if this doesn’t get you, you’ve got shitty taste in music: