After the five-plus-year wait between 2013’s “Avarice” album and January’s nine-track set, “Crush,” Bend hip-hop artist and Zonked Out squad member Amsterdam wasted no time getting new material into the world.

“Yrstruly,” released in early September, serves as a sequel/companion piece to “Crush.” While that album found Amsterdam, born Gabriel van Eikeren, navigating the ins and outs of a relationship and breakup in the social media age, “Yrstruly” is a warning about the dangers of idealizing a crush in favor of the often messy reality of love, and the self-sabotaging from both parties that can ensue.

Like “Crush,” “Yrstruly” loosely follows a relationship from beginning to end. “Extraaa” introduces the object of Amsterdam’s lust with a summery, old-school groove by Croup. But darkness lurks underneath the sunny-sounding beats and occasional one-liners (“Bottom line, you’re just trying to get your hoodie back”), as the narrator confesses he’s “back in my bulls---.”

The old-school vibes continue throughout. “Loud Boy,” produced by fellow local rapper Jay Tablet, sets jazzy piano to a busy, tribal rhythm as Amsterdam lays out a fight predicated on silent treatment: “She’s the type of quiet, sounding scary in your dreams.” Old and new combine on “Do Less,” which samples soul singer Miss Lavell’s “Run to You” behind its insistent, ominous beat and is one of three tracks produced by Classic Material (formerly DJ Hit n Runn, a longtime collaborator of Amsterdam’s).

The six-plus minute “Ghosted” closes the album with another soul/funk rager, as the narrator finds himself back to square one, having been ghosted by his crush-turned-girlfriend (or maybe it’s the other way around?). The track is really two songs in one, as a sample of War’s “Deliver the World” segues into a soul-searching outro in which Amsterdam admits he’s “just repeating mistakes.”

Overall the record is darker thematically than “Crush,” yet musically feels lighter thanks to the copious funk and soul nods in the beats. This timeless juxtaposition of light and dark helps make “Yrstruly” one of Amsterdam’s most mature offerings to date.

— Brian McElhiney, The Bulletin

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