Monday, January 5, 2009

Jansport J "The 2 AM Tape"

The world of instrumental Hip Hop is vast and intriguing. Never do you really know what to expect from a beat tape. Sometimes it’s an emcees album stripped of the vocals, sometimes it’s a collection of beats composed from one source and sometimes it’s just a dope collection of music put out by a beat maker trying to be heard.

Jansport Js latest offering, The 2 AM Tape, would fall into that last category – but he added a slight twist:
“This project is an instrumental concept album revolving around all of the common characters, events, and thoughts that take place in the middle of the night...2 AM. The album provides a soundtrack to these events, and takes the listener through a journey through the goings on of 2 AM.”
Concept albums aren’t exactly common within Hip Hop. Sure you have the classics like anything Prince Paul lays down and Nas did a decent job last year (although giving up on the name hurts the overall theme) but by and large rappers seem more interested in just spitting rhymes. Jansport J doesn’t rhyme here but he does chop up some excellent samples and lay down some smooth and soulful bangers for you and I to enjoy, perhaps while up in the middle of the night.

Running with the late night theme the tape is a journey in sound from beginning to end – and you will want to let it ride front to back. Demonstrating a sufficient knowledge of sampling and beat composition many of Jansport’s offerings here will get you nodding along steadily wondering where he is going to take you next.

“The Sex” sees him flipping a great trumpet sound and layering in some sounds of pleasure for a fun song that might just get you and a friend in the mood. “The Munchies” follows and while it may seem like an abrupt theme change, its driving guitar lick and clever vocal sample (“and the trees are green”) will keep you entertained.

“The Anxiety” features some drums that could hit harder but the spooky sound effects (I don’t have a clue what he is sampling here) and synth work is perfect for that late night paranoia we can all suffer from. J also pulls in a number of vocal snippets from any number of places (TV, film, etc) that add to the ambience he is looking to deliver.

He loops up the Beatles for the excellent “The Break Up” and adds some great dusty drums underneath – again they may not thump like some would prefer, but I doubt anyone would complain as this track screams of a forgotten era of beat makers.

With The 2 AM Tape we are transported into Jansport Js late night world and on many occasions it’s probably not to far from the actions many a person has partaken in over the course of an evening. J proves he has the chops to make a hot beat but at the same time carry a project on his own – it’s not the second coming of Shadow, but he shows promise and I guarantee if you enjoy instrumental music this will get a replay or two from you. Maybe even in the middle of the night.

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