rock, dj premier, prince paul, 88 keys, grap luva, j-live,
chris catalyst, dj spinna, emmai alaquiva.
of the unspoken heard, probe.dms of cvees.
|year of release:
|1. Outside Looking
|3. Got What It Takes
|4. Don't Play
|5. Vampire Hunter
|8. Kick It To The
Beat feat. Asheru of The Unspoken Heard, Probe.dms
|9. Wax Paper
|11. Get The Third
|12. School's In Remix
|14. True School Anthem
|15. Inside Looking
|16. The Best Part
"For underground metaphors,
you could scrape an inch below the turf for what it's
worth / my style's been developed in the core of the
earth / the exhale is volcanic, the inhale is seismic
/ so brothers just panic when the Live one arrives"
so J-Live opens the here revisited classic "Braggin'
Writes", the one track that initially
brought J to our attention. Ours as well as to the attention
one of some labels, with one then having him record
this album, which however only now celebrates its first
official release, after there has been an 'official
bootleg' on vinyl last year. Hence this record is old.
Yes, as J writes in the cover himself, this albums creation
started back in 1995, it was on the verge of completion
in 1997 and was supposed to be released in 1999. What
was also around the time when this magazine sat down
with J-Live and talked about it. And what was supposed
to be called "The Best Part" back then, is still today
called "The Best Part".
This album is one of
few, where you just want to sit still and listen. Listen
to what the emcee has to say, as you never really know
what comes next. That makes the album just the more
exciting and adds an appeal that too many other records
lack. J-Live is able to make every track exciting and
interesting in an abundance amount of various ways.
And it's a simple sign of pure quality, when you can
buy this album today and it's still fresh. With a lot
being due to the incredible lyrics that make J-Live
be one of the best emcees, who however is tragically
under-mentioned when it comes to name the best rhyme
smiths. But those that know, know, and they agree with
J: "I got Allah's street knowledge plus a college degree
/ I got props as a DJ and a true emcee / I got grown
ass men trying to be my clone / I got nuff respect in
every time zone".
And if you don't have
much time to be convinced, then simply listen to "Them
That's Not", a lyrical masterpiece, where
the beats by Grap Luva speeds up and at one time settles
into one pace. And that change from going faster to
finding the rhythm to settle in, that moment is one
amazing, immaculate lyrical moment. But also the words
that are surrounding it are nothing short of brilliant:
"once upon a time there was a brother named Castro /
had a little problem with his cash flow, word / more
than once upon a time he had a dream to clock mad dough
/ only at the time it all seemed absurd / then he saw
a light bulb flash up on his forehead, shined so bright
he had to close both eyes". Another great lyrical moment
can be found on "Wax Paper",
where J uses DJ rhetoric to tell a thug story. What
then sounds something like this: "very few crossed the
line and made it, without a scratch / for every new
batch, there was a new catch / often people asked Nic,
why his revolver wouldn't stop / he replied 'everybody
wants me in a coffin' / this pitch ass tried to get
live at a red light / he received 33 from a 45".
But this short paragraph
could never pay tribute to the dopeness of the lyrics.
We however also gotta give props to the booming aspect
of the album, cause on the beat tip, J-Live acquired
the services of 88 Keys, Grap Luva, Pete Rock, Prince
Paul, DJ Spinna, DJ Premier as well as J of course,
to just mention the well known. And there's no track
that is weak on here (just the singing on "Don't
Play" is annoying) and very few got a blatant
from years back sound (like "Intro"
and "Yes!"). Hence
is just that, with Chris Catalysts creating something
incredible smooth and miraculously dope. And even Pete
Rock is exchanging his boom bap with something more
relaxed on "Kick It To The
Beat", a non-vinyl track that features Asheru
of The Unspoken Heard and Probe.dms of CVEES, who are
two of the few guests featured. Then there's also the
rather hard "School's In"
that both are not on the
vinyl as well.
"See at the date of
this writing, yo my shit's on hold / but at the date
of this writing, I'm predicted gold / if five hundred
thousand love real rhymes and beats / I'll be half way
to platinum when it hits the streets" J says. And all
the true hip hop heads should go and buy this record,
because it is darn good and you'll enjoy it. But also
to prove all those wack labels that had it on their
shelf but failed to release it wrong, that the audience
is actually demanding this kind of quality hip hop.
That it's them that straight up failed. Support J-Live
and you support someone that had to fight for his material
to be heard. Not because it was wack, but because it
was too good, too real, too honest. Hence, and unfortunately
this sounds corny, but it's very true, if you support
this record, you support everything that real hip hop