Gerald Walker - TARGET-cover

The path to Gerald Walker’s debut album TARGET has been long. Officially announced as early as 2013, the Milwaukee emcee had prepared to put his following as an indie to the test with a retail release following a wealth of free mixtapes. As Walker and his One Step At a Time music brand attempted to put the pieces together, even releasing a single that flew below the radar (“Tell The Wolves I’m Home”), his affiliates took strides – Walker’s longtime producer collaborator, Cardo, soon found his name attached to big name projects; and Houston’s own Jack Freeman, a frequent guest on Walker projects, built his own brand and resume.

So Walker took it back to the drawing board. He re-branded TARGET as a collaborative effort between himself and his team (“the Walker Family”). And after going dark in 2014 to put his nose to the grindstone, he returned with a new single – “No Heart Feelings” – and an official date attached to TARGET. A week ago today, TARGET was released to retail, as a double-disc album, albeit drowned out by New Music Friday. Walker, thankfully, opted to put the entire project up for streaming on Spotify.

23 tracks deep – 12 songs on Disc 1 and 11 on Disc 2 – and featuring Houston’s own Jack Freeman and LeeLonn Walker, Add-2, and the Walker Family, TARGET is diverse enough in sound for it never to feel like a marathon in spite of being a double disc. It’s refreshing to see that Gerald Walker’s penchant for song titles that are either super-long (“We’ve Come So Far But Still Have Ways to Go”) or plays on words (“The Resist Stance”) hasn’t changed. What IS different about Walker, is a gritty delivery that broaches on spiteful. There’s theme music for those still trying to find light in the cracks (the almost spiritual “Invincible” and the smooth “Where Would I Be?!” immediately come to mind). LeeLonn gives still more power to obvious album standout “Walls of Jericho.” And “Us Against The World” toes the line between being turn up music and a “fuck you” to everyone who’s ever doubted Gerald.

Whether TARGET will prove to be Gerald Walker’s long-awaited breakthrough to the mainstream remains to be seen. For now, you can stream Gerald Walker & The Family’s TARGET album in full for the free down below. Walker’s TARGET LP is out now on iTunes. The rapper has also released a book, entitled TARGET Practice, which can be purchased either with the album or separately here.