Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Jake One "White Van Music"
Anyone from around here is going to be looking at this album with just a slightly different take, making me wish I could be talking with some people outside of the S-E-A about what they think of the debut offering from Jake One.
The resident beat maker extraordinaire has been fudging the lines about what exactly “underground” and “mainstream” Hip Hop is for years now and to this end we see a diverse group of guests. From Young Buck and Busta Rhymes to MF Doom and a host of locally known emcees who will hopefully receive some much deserved attention after sharing grooves with the talent found herein.
Now it could be my own bias but those tracks from the local emcees stand up incredibly well, to a point that I have to say I find them to be the best tracks on the album. From the D. Black solo “God Like” with it’s subdued beat (Blueprint esque? Shout to Crawford!) to the power trio of J Pinder, GMK and Spaceman on “Big Homie Style,” this is the hidden gem if you ask me. All three emcees hold their own over a top 5 of all time Jake beat. If anyone is looking for some mid-nineties NY griminess tune in to this, I swear you will think you got caught in a time warp.
Opening with a great dialogue about music being “dope” Jake drops in a bouncing bass line and a great vocal sample before Black Milk shouts “drums” and in come some knockers for him and Nottz to rock. Chosing two producers who also emcee to open your album may be a ballsy move, but they handle the track and get you started off in a good mood, before being totally smashed on by the sounds of the Mash Out Posse for “Gangsta Boy.” Props to Jake for creating a beat that is filled with the best of what both coasts style in beats has to offer, if this record will do one thing it will prove his versatility.
Much has been made about the Freeway and Brother Ali featuring lead single “The Truth” but you all know what the deal is, these two lace the beat like only they could and it sounds perfect! But Freeway is also lucky enough to get another placement here with “How We Ride.” I think we might be in the presence of a future power duo with these two three for three this year alone – what might Freedom of Speech hold?
This is a Rhymesayers release and for those fans who think RSE is the be all end all to this Hip Hop game, don’t worry lots of your favorites are here. Blueprint shows up with what will probably be a far to over looked tale of a scandalous lady with a slow and soft beat, don’t know if I ever thought I’d say this about a rap record but nice strings Jake! Of course Slug makes an appearance and continues to impress me when he is outside the Atmosphere “style” holding his own next to the almighty Posdnuos for the fun and braggadocios “Oh Really.”
As I mentioned Doom is here for not one but two tracks and while I don’t want to give the bastard any hint of happiness with anything he does these tracks don’t sound that bad. Doom does sound damn good over Jake’s soundscapes but quite wasting them on such a fool, I’m calling for an industry boycott!
We get a couple treats from Jake’s short stay in the bay area with Keak da Sneak’s “Soil Raps” and Casual’s “Feelin My Shit,” both of which I’ve seen a fair amount of hate for which I feel is a bit unjustified. I’m not particularly a fan of either but the tracks don’t take anything away for me and hearing Casual say that “the Neptunes are feelin’ my shit” is hilarious.
Jake has had an impressive career by any standard you could use to judge such a thing. He has consistently created beats anyone in the game could rock with, and he has regularly stated that beats he gives to G-Unit are the same ones he gives to the underground heads. Will the fans show the same open mindedness?