'Rocket Power' Album Review: Quavo delivers passionate, heartfelt project

Quavo / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia native rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer Quavo released his second solo studio album, Rocket Power, on Aug. 18, 2023. The 18-track record is dedicated to Quavo's late nephew and former group-mate in the legendary 2010s hip-hop trio Migos, Takeoff, who passed away when he was shot and killed at a party in Houston, TX, on Nov. 1, 2022.

Rocket Power also comes less than a year after Quavo and TakeOff dropped the album Only Built for Infinity Links on Oct. 7, 2022.

Quavo talked about the emotional process for him while making this album in a Billboard interview in late July 2023.

"He’s been “bottling all these emotions,” he notes, “all the pain, all the hard times, all the times I cried and all the times I just made music” to cope with loss. “And to pull up and try to play songs and he’s not there, and I’m just trying to get this fuel from above and this feeling from the sky and just call it Rocket Power.”"

Quavo in July 2023 Billboard Interview

Quavo has also mentioned that this project was like "therapy" for him since Takeoff's passing in the fall of 2022.

Rocket Power sees Quavo deliver a passionate trap and southern hip-hop record in dedication to the late Takeoff

Rocket Power starts with an absolute trap banger, "Fueled Up". Quavo skates over an incredible trap beat from Kenny Beats and Murda Beatz, who co-produced the album's intro song. "Fueled Up" also sees Quavo sample part of his and Takeoff's 2022 lead single on Only Built for Infinity Links, "Hotel Lobby", on the outro.

"Do this sh*t for the fam', 'cause this sh*t bigger than me
Do this sh*t for the fam', 'cause this sh*t bigger than me
Do this sh*t for the fam', 'cause this sh*t bigger than me"

Takeoff on outro of "Fueled Up"

Take's outro on "Fueled Up" serves as a good lead-up to the record's second track, "Patty Cake". This track features Quavo and Takeoff going back and forth over a memorable DJ Durel produced trap beat. "Patty Cake" and "Fueled Up" are easily two of the best songs on the record, getting Rocket Power off to a really good start.

Quavo keeps up the energy with the album's next two tracks, "Mama Told Me" and "Who Wit Me". We get a similar vibe from "Mama Told Me" and "Who Wit Me" compared to "Greatness" and "Rocket Power" to close out the album.

"Mama Told Me" touches on his and Takeoff's experiences with his mom Edna. This ad-lib heavy track brings back memories of some 2010s Migos hits, such as T-Shirt and Straightenin'.

"Mama told me, "Keep the dollars at home"
Mama told me not to gamble that shit (Mama)
Mama told me to do dirt on my own"

First three lines from "Mama Told Me"

The vibe on this record takes a more introspective turn after the first three songs on the tracklist. Quavo gets more introspective on songs like "Narkedo Speaks" and "Hold Me" (which features an airy and atmospheric BNYX beat).

Rocket Power starts to lose some of its focus and energy around track seven or eight, though. Quavo mixes more introspective and mellow trap songs like "Hold Me" with your standard formula Migos-type trap banger, like "Turn Yo Clic Up", featuring Future.

It's hard to tell if Quavo is trying to put together a dedicated record with passionate and emotional tracks or a playlist of trap bangers and gym songs at this point in the tracklist.

"Wall to Wall" is a good example of your standard Quavo trap song that flaunts getting money and living an exhilarating, boujee lifestyle meeting women in the club.

"F***in' this b**ch in this b**ch, wall to wall (Wall)
B**ches keep lookin', she finna get bought
Hoardin' these racks, gotta get this sh*t off (Racks)"

Verse 1 in "Wall to Wall"

Rocket Power gets back on track with another group of solid cuts, highlighted by "11.11" and "Galaxy". "11.11" is a fiery and spiritual track where Quavo digs in on his superstitions regarding the time 11:11. November 11, 2022, was also the date of Takeoff's memorial service.

"Dark nights, I can't sleep, so I cry 'til I close my eyes
I never asked God, "Why?" (God) I just go where the road designed (No)
Take a look in the sky (Sky), my eyes open wide (Wide)
All eyes on me, but I'm no 2Pac"

Chorus on "11.11"

Quavo stated that this track was recorded on the same day as Takeoff's memorial service, held at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA.

The dark and atmospheric beat selection at this point of the album for songs like "11.11", "Focused", and "Galaxy" puts you in Quavo's headspace to experience some of what he did during the making of Rocket Power.

Moreover, Rocket Power ends on a high note with two great tracks in "Rocket Power" and "Greatness", similar to the strong start to the tracklist with "Fueled Up" and "Patty Cake". There is a return to a darker trap vibe with more introspective lyrics on "Rocket Power".

"I was seventeen kickin', doors bright and early
Daddy had to take me to my favorite auntie, Shirley (Auntie)
I told my mama that she never had to worry (Mama)
Three Migos Stooges, it was Larry, Moe and Curly (Three)"

Chorus on "Rocket Power"

"Greatness" is the perfect closer to Quavo's most inspired and focused solo project to date. The chord progression and synths are heart-gripping. And Quavo delivers one of his best lyrical and vocal performances of the entire album.

Quavo delivered multiple great tracks on this record, mixing in different types of trap and southern hip-hop production while carrying on Takeoff's legacy with some memorable and inspired bars. This is easily one of his best albums of his discography. It is also the most passionate we've ever heard Quavo consistently on any of his records to date.

Score: 7/10