Core, That J's A Bit Lively Isn't He!!!
I'll start this one with the production credits shall I: DJ Spinna, DJ Nu-Mark, Locsmif, Cap D, Oddisee, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Evil Dee, Kenny Keys, Nicolay & Marco Polo, amongst others. After that list i could stop the review right now, safe in the knowledge that those in the know will be more than prepared to grab this album when it drops. But since i have a little more space to fill i'll continue for a little longer. After the lukewarm reception received for The Here After, J has gone back to what he does best (a la The Best Part & All of The Above) & doesn't disappoint over one beat afer another of pure Hip Hop goodness. The movie score horns & sharp yet slightly understated snare of One to 31 should imediately put at ease those who were left a little disappointed last go round (& there are a few of you). Be No Slave is located below for your listening pleasure so i'll let the good people judge for yourselves. Then comes The Upgrade, which sees J joined by Posdanous & Oddisee over a chopped vocal sample & some nice brass/horns on the hook. Through It Don't Stop & The Understanding, things continue in the same vein of head nod niceness. The Last Third (which sounds like a Spinna beat to me) sees J contemplating on various what could've beens while being carried by atmospheric horns & keys, plus a snapping snare. The latin infused guitars & brass of Ole, The accomplished keyboard meshing of Oowee & eerie vocal samples of Simmer Down, are my other definite playlist additions. But my fav on here has to be We Are! Spinna laced this one big time & J takes it back to Braggin' Writes with the lyrics. J-Live the MC never went off the boil but i just thought some of his beat choices on his last full length album (i'm not counting his EP's which are all nice) were not great. He may have been in Common/Electric Circus mode & was just trying something new. But he's chosen the beats to match is mic skills this time out & the listening experience as a whole is much better because of it. A definite must have.
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