It would be wrong to say that this album is boring, but on occasion it can be. What What created wonderful beats as Run Run Shaw behind the decks for the unheralded Natural Resource, she wowed heads in and out of New York City, garnered the ear of The Herbaliser and created equally captivating late-90′s joints with the then-bubbling British production team. Buzzes simmered, heads talked, heads wondered, the Resource faded from the rapidly growing indie-game, What What continued to appear, here, there, yet limited in its scope, she was a notable fixture and thankfully had to opportunity to finally release an album of her own. Here it is, a bit later in the game, with a new name, but, at the end of the day, are heads still as captivated?
Granted the “dirty mix” concept isn’t much more than an explanation for not being able to mix an album properly, its honed well in the liner notes with recommended adjustments for each individual song, but in actuality that in itself doesn’t make some of draining loops any more exciting. Masta Ace does his part for “God’s Gift”, but Grae’s sleepy step aside his stringy loop wears on the listener after a couple times around the block. “Block Party” isn’t much to spin at one, yet its uplifting message of discovery and travel, that personifies much of Jean Grae’s consciousness lyrically, her message is delivered similarly elsewhere, whether or not they’re caught by the consumer is up to them.
“Thank Ya” and “Get It” score themselves a nod for the obligatory NYC album anthem but at the end of the day, who’ll play this, commercial radio or college? Both might feel alienated by it. While radio-play probably isn’t Grae’s main aim, she shines brightest when she’s trying the least hard, as exemplified on”Knock”. A knocker indeed, simple, brash and quite possibly the album’s strongest song, for the simple fact that it bumps (on a Mr. Len beat), it’s no nonsense and isn’t over or under-produced, it just simply is. This album simply is what it is, some boring production, good writing, a tame character at times and a few underwhelming concepts. Didn’t she record a whole album with The Herbaliser back in the day? – Doctor Review
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