Born in Columbia, South Carolina, and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, A. Armstrong has a burning desire to inspire, empower, and uplift a troubled, low self-esteemed, depressed, and stressed humanity. As an artist, his music changed drastically when he took a position as a paraprofessional at an elementary school in 2010. Working directly with children, interacting with them daily, witnessing their inner struggles (socially, emotionally, and academically) and noticing the effects of troubled households sparked a renewed fire within Armstrong musically. In 2012, his younger brother (age 23) committed suicide. This tragedy has had an even more profound impact on his music and overall direction.
A.Armstrong’s latest album “Retrolution” (Retro + Revolution), is composed of “retro” music from 70’s R&B classics and old school Hip-Hop. The album was released on 1/22/2016 to commemorate the legendary Sam Cooke who was born on 1/22/1931. This is one of those recordings, in my opinion, that you can put on, and let it play. There isn’t any nonsense on this album. No fake bravado, no filler tracks, just straight up hip-hop. If you are looking at grabbing this product, you already know how great A. Armstrong is. If someone suggested it to you that knows hip hop and wants you to know what real hip-hop is, go get this album, and download it now, or whatever you have to do to get your ears on it!
“Retrolution” is definitely an album worth buying if for no other reason than to inspire more artists to follow the true leader. No doubt A. Armstrong will broaden his appeal with this album. The truth is unless an artist makes money he or she gets marginalized and we get the garbage that gets played on the radio. Talent is not saying Ni**a in every other line or talking about what you have in every rhyme, but that’s what’s making money right now and getting labeled as real hip-hop. “Retrolution” is true hip-hop without the fake beefs and diss tracks.
Hip Hop has its trends like any other form of media or art. Right now it is in this garbage mode where almost everything that comes out is throwaway. So, thank A. Armstrong for bringing us back to where Hip Hop should be. This album delivers lyrically, musically, and spiritually. Artists in any genre have an obligation to transcend their art form. A. Armstrong has done that, across these 18 tracks. From the opening “Fred Hampton Intro”, through the standouts, “People Make the World Go Round”, “Straighten it Out feat (Elder Tyronne Brown)”, “Reflection of God”, “Knowledge Supreme (feat Elder Tyronne Brown)”, “It Takes II”, “What’s LOVE?”, “A Salute to Paris (P-Dog the Bush Killa)” and “Pillar of Hope”, this album is solid, a piece of supreme thought and execution.
Just like with every word A. Armstrong spits; the smooth delivery fits right into the rhythm and melody of these classic R&B music blends. This is the kind of music hip hop should have evolved itself into and I hope that other artists take heed to this and follow his road to evolution for all our sake so that the airwaves can once again be the medium for real music and not the meaningless ear candy we hear today.