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by Craig Smith
1 January, 2000@12:00 am
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J-Zone came straight outta college with a surprising 1998 debut. Part of a senior project at a NY institute of higher learning, Music For Tu Madre introduced J-Zone as a superb beat architect with a penchant for grabbing his grandmoms in outrageous poses for album cover art.

Grandmoms and the Queens based J-Zone return with A Bottle of Whup Ass EP. With this new output, he’s back in familiar territory–producing each track, offering tight turntable techniques and spending a majority of the EP behind the mic. His production style is eclectic and varies from flute loops and crisp kick drums “No Consequences”) to high-pitched music box jingles coupled with traditional Italian guitar strums (“The Smurf Syndrome”).

Behind the microphone, J-Zone’s skills are solid and his oddball quips bring out smirks. “I guess success wasn’t meant for me/a job eating lead paint chips is really tempting me,” he jokingly explains on “Orphan Babies”. Soon after, we learn more than we need to know when J-Zone reveals what gives him a wet dream in the peculiarly humorous interlude “Nocturnal Emission”. (For the record, it’s Robin Givens, Sade and Vanity.)

Even with J-Zone’s considerable talent, there’s no doubt that his beats could use more variety behind the mic. Fellow rhymers Huggy Bear and Al-Shid appear often, but are satisfactory at best, lacking confident or originality in their flows and lyricism. J could share the wealth a little more when it comes to his beat making, so MCs take note; call up this cat and request a J-Zone remix.

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