This Thing Called Life

This Thing Called Life

by August AlsinaAugust Alsina


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Counting the front cover, the booklet for This Thing Called Life contains over two-dozen photos, all black-and-white, mostly downcast. In a couple shots, August Alsina's view is from the ground, at the mercy of an ambiguously clothed man pointing a gun at him. Others show the singer staring at a shattered RIAA plaque for "I Luv This Sh*t," his platinum debut single. Only in the last two is he shown cracking a smile. Altogether, the images closely reflect the percentages of dark and light content that color Alsina's second album. "I done worked my way to the top," he proudly asserts, yet those who prop him up are treated with as much suspicion as those who attempt to knock him down. Success has exacerbated previously existing problems while dealing him a set of new ones. In one verse, for instance, he laments, "I try to buy my momma's love, she don't appreciate it, so I stay inebriated," while in another, he smacks down prospective hangers-on. As with the Downtown: Life Under the Gun EP and Testimony, most of the highlights here involve production from the Exclusives and Knucklehead. "Dreamer," strengthened by a sample of a Eugene Record ballad, shows Alsina spinning realist tales with as much conviction displayed in inward-looking highlights like "Song Cry" and "Hip Hop." Even though Alsina is a soul singer to his core, he continually draws connections to hip-hop, borrowing a song title from Jay-Z, interpolating Naughty by Nature, referencing 2Pac and the Notorious B.I.G. Given the album's immersion in street life and its grim aftershocks -- details ranging from hunger pains to the contemplation of suicide -- it's gratifying to hear it conclude with a sentiment similar to that of the booklet's last page. In the Polow-produced "The Encore," a Ralfi Pagan-sampling throwback anthem with a touch of gospel, Alsina concludes with "Had to get it how I could, I was so misunderstood out the hood, now it's all good." Its respite is much more substantive than what's served in the hedonistic singles that feature Lil Wayne and Chris Brown.

Product Details

Release Date: 12/11/2015
Label: Def Jam
UPC: 0602547516015
catalogNumber: 002383802
Rank: 34764

Album Credits

Performance Credits

August Alsina   Primary Artist
Sharod Virtuoso   Guitar
Amaiya LaBranch   Vocals
Chaylin LaBranch   Vocals
Ky'Lee Wells   Vocals
Kristian Alvis   Vocals
Kayden LaBranch   Vocals
Tiffany Montouth-Jeanty   Vocals

Technical Credits

Ernie Isley   Composer
George Clinton   Composer
Ian Devaney   Composer
Garry Shider   Composer
Harvey Averne   Composer
Anthony Hamilton   Composer
Andrew Morris   Composer
Henry "Noonie" Lee   Executive Producer
Tai Linzie   Artwork,Photo Production
Exclusives   Producer,Executive Producer,Vocal Producer
Dwayne Carter   Composer
Polow da Don   Producer
Gary Lee Cooper   Composer
Andy Proctor   Package Production
Sean McMillion   Composer,Engineer
Ralph Jeanty   Composer
JProof   Producer
Flippa123   Producer
Sampha Sisay   Composer
Jasmine Mitchell   Engineer
August Alsina   Composer,Producer,Executive Producer
Carlos Cahee   Composer,Producer
Donald "D-Day" Albright   Executive Producer
Kevin Harp   Art Direction
Korner Keyz   Producer
Knucklehead   Producer
Brandon "B.A.M." Hodge   Composer,Producer
Kevin Price   Composer
Dominyque Allen   Composer
Candace Curry   Composer
Hood Famous   Producer
Go Grizzly   Producer
Jack Beans   Engineer
Mello the Producer   Producer
Pinkey & the Brain   Vocal Producer

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