1 January, 2001@12:00 am
Following the success of two critically acclaimed, backpack bestseller EP’s, J-Zone and his crew of Old Maid Billionaires look to make their names known in the world of hip-hop music with their official debut, Pimps Don’t Pay Taxes.
Still sleeping on J-Zone and his crew? Time to play catch up – and while the name might spark curiosity, J-Zone can be best described as the exact opposite of NYC’s other rapper with the initials “J. Z.” While Jiggaman is pushing a Bentley, J-Zone dreams of a Caddy with dice in the mirror. While Sean Carter is lacing shorty from his video with a diamond bracelet, J-Zone is splitting the bill at White Castle with Ms. Platonic. And while H-to-the-Izzo is using his astronomical success levels to buy beats from the best producers in the game, J-Zone is producing his own beats in his bedroom, trying to see at least a fraction of the market that the other dominates. The similarities aren’t many at all, and J-Zone really isn’t that happy about it.
He is rap’s lowest common denominator; Dr. Frankenstein’s bastard creation with Al Bundy’s winning streak, Andrew Dice Clay’s chivalry, Chris Rock’s sense of humor, Ice Cube’s knack for narrative, Prince Paul’s production skills, and Eminem’s middle finger. But even with the aforementioned influences, J-Zone is a completely original artist, and perhaps rap’s greatest new find of the indy hip-hop gene pool. As evidenced on virtually every track on this album, J-Zone has a chip off a New York City block resting heavily on his shoulder, as he uses this album as a platform to vent on about everything that has ever pissed him off.
From the get-go, J-Zone gives his interviewer a verbal pimp-slap with a lyrical list of sarcastic answers to stupid questions on “Q & A” – opening the floodgates for an entertaining, well-produced, and incredibly funny album. “The Trojan War” is another outstanding execution that first shows J-Zone’s dismay for sex with a condom, only to be yelled at by his other head in the second verse (with Thug Penis played to the hilt by fellow O.M.B., Huggy Bear.) His frustration with women dominates much of the album, whether it’s with the stuck-up coffee shop chicks “Bum Bitch Ballad”), the female platonic friend (“Ms. Platonic Pt. 2″) or the mistaken 15-year old that once got Will Smith in similar trouble (“Jailbait Jennifer”). From internet rappers that want to freestyle when he’s trying to chill with a female (“Block Itch”) to rich-kids who download his album instead of buying it (“Live From The Pimp Palace East”), nobody is safe from getting spit with J-Zone’s venom. But Zone gets them all back on “No Consequences” – an episode in which the NYPD takes the day off, giving him freedom to do whatever he wants, without worrying about the penalties of the law. In this hilarious and outlandish pipe dream, Zone fantasizes of everything from getting revenge on his cheating ex by “confiscating tampons till she bleeds to death” to rolling through the ghetto pumping “Ice Ice Baby”, and as J-Zone puts it – “think I give a fuck? It’s better than the shit I’ve heard lately!”
What really makes J-Zone such a well-rounded artist is the fact that he can not only keep your attention through his lyrics, but also through his production. While his sample heavy, throwback tracks may prevent him from ever securing a major label deal, as long as it remains in the underground, his beats are some of the most original (and equally slammin’) of the moment.
J-Zone is like that asshole best friend that only you can appreciate, and while rocking a “Bitch Magnet” t-shirt isn’t likely to score him any new female fans than this new album will, J-Zone’s sense of humor and sarcasm shows that his seemingly negative attitude toward women is only a result of the bastard character he is playing – one that probably could be cured if a certain Lucy Liu accepted his marriage proposal (see “Q & A”). Acting as the third chapter in the Zone Mission, it’s his best and most complete yet, and you simply cannot afford to sleep on him any longer.
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