J-Zone is a rapper that I slept on for far too long. For as long as I’ve been listening to hip hop, it’s surprising that this is the first album of his that I’ve listened to. Hell, I’d never even heard of him until earlier this year. Anyway, it’s better late than never. From what I’ve read, this album is as good of a place as any to start digging into his discography and that’s exactly what I did. I suppose you could call this album a concept album. As the title suggests, the subject matter on this album mainly consists of J-Zone not wanting to grow up (you know, how Peter Pan lived in Neverland because he didn’t want to grow up). He raps about not wanting a real job, not accepting new things (rappers, texting, etc.), and about women (although he doesn’t use that terminology for them). The overall tone of the album could be described as immature and ignorant. I love conscious hip hop as much as the next guy, but sometimes I need to pump some hilarious ignorance into my ears. So let’s dig in, shall we?
First of all, J-Zone strikes me as a very talented rapper. His flow is effortless, his lyrics are always entertaining/funny and his voice and energy fit perfectly given the type of rapper that he is. On several occasions throughout this album, he raps about not wanting to get a real job and about how being a musician is all that he wants to do. To be honest, whether he’s being serious or not, or maybe partially serious, you can’t blame him. It sounds like rapping comes so naturally for him. He’s just one of those rappers who seems like they were destined to be a rapper, which is a testament to how good he is on the mic. I still have yet to hear any of his other albums, but solely based on his performance on this album, I’m really digging his style, persona, etc. I’m already a fan.
I called J-Zone a talented rapper, but I should have called him a talented musician. He produced the whole album and he did more than satisfactory job. Almost everything on the production side of the album, drums, bass, synthesizer, keyboards, and scratches, was provided by J-Zone himself. I always admire when a good rapper is also a good producer, but the fact that J-Zone actually plays multiple instruments makes me admire him even more than most of his kind. Of course, if these beats weren’t good, I wouldn’t admire J-Zone as much, but like I said, these beats are really good. They’re distinctly boom bap beats, but unlike a lot of boom bap beats of recent years, they don’t sound like carbon copies of boom bap beats from previous eras. This year, it seems that producers have finally started bringing some creativity back into boom bap and J-Zone is no exception. Due to his own live drums and impeccable ear for head-nodding rhythms, these beats sound unique enough to stand apart from the other boom bap releases of the year. Overall, it’s a very well-produced album and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to hear some innovative boom bap.
Another notable aspect of this album is its format. This isn’t just your typical hip hop album with anywhere from 10 to 20 songs, most of which fall into the 3-4 minute range. This album has 22 songs and most of them are short. Some of them are instrumentals, some of them are skits/instrumentals, some of them contain skits or interludes within them, and some of them are more traditional full-length songs. There’s definitely a lot of variety contained in the album, which helps to keep it consistently fresh and entertaining. It’s also kept entertaining by its fast pace. Due to all of the short songs, it moves very quickly, which is much better than the alternative of moving very slowly. Don’t let the 22 songs fool you; this album breezes by. It’s easy to digest and all-around fun to listen to.
To take a slight pause from praising this album, I have to mention its one flaw, which is that there aren’t enough standout tracks. Sure, everything on the album is dope and it flows very well as a whole, but there aren’t any individual songs that blow me away. As much as I enjoy the album in its entirety, none of my favorite hip hop songs of the year can be found on it, which decreases its replay value. That’s not to say that it won’t get a lot of play from me, but it won’t get as much play as it would if it had some really great songs on it. That’s sort of a minor issue, though. All that it does is drop the album’s quality from excellence to near excellence, which isn’t so bad. It’s still among the better hip hop albums of the year; just because it’s a few spots away from my top 10 of the year isn’t even a dis to it. It’s a solid hip hop album and I would recommend it to anyone who like boom bap and humorous hip hop. It’s certainly a gem and it it makes me excited to dig into the rest of J-Zone’s discography. If you haven’t heard it yet, I suggest that you give it a try.
On my final note, I can’t be the only one who wants to hear a Swagmaster Bacon album now. OH, or maybe a collaboration album featuring Swagmaster Bacon AND Chief Chinchilla!!! That would quite likely result in the funniest hip hop album ever released. On the odd chance that you’re reading this review, J-Zone, make that album happen, please.
The thoughts of this article resonates the authors thoughts, not a general consensus of the website (unless otherwise stated).