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23 July, 2003@12:00 am

With his debut, Music For Tu Madre, J-Zone conducted interviews with various New Yorkers asking them, “where do you see hip-hop in five years”. Their answers were bleak, pretty much delivering a dark forecast for the future of hip-hop. J-Zone himself was a struggling backpack rapper doing his best to save hip-hop from self-destruction, and ironically, five years later, with his pimped out release Sick Of Being Rich, he’s actually become a part of the problem. Hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

But J-Zone doesn’t seem to care, and neither should you, because Sick Of Being Rich is actually a good “problem” to have. Yeah, Zone has abandoned searching for answers as to why hip-hop has changed over the last ten years, and instead has found his niche as a poor parody pimp misplaced in New York, schooled in the ways of Too Short and E-40. But don’t cry foul yet, keep-it-realers, ain’t a damn thing changed at the Old Maid mansion, as the Zone mission continues with his same trademark production, not to mention off the wall concepts and laugh-out loud rhymes.   

     Pretty much top-to-bottom, J-Zone has produced another solid album, picking up right where Pimps Don’t Pay Taxes left off. The album begins with the obligatory “J-Zone Commandments”, where the Zone delivers his lists of do’s-&-don’ts over hypnotic rolling keyboards and obnoxious drums, and continues to lay down the law on “Fuck You, Pay Me” over tough horns and more choppy drums.  His personality manifests itself, as the forever cheapskate on the descriptive ode to his broke down ride, “5-Star Hooptie”, as well as on “Chump Change” and “Bling Around The Collar (Fake Gold Chain)”, each propelled by his as usual ridiculous production. He does the same on a eulogy of songs that disrespect women, each pretty much self-explanatory by their titles such as “Steady Hoggin’” (sorry De La, no “Baby Phat” love here), while both Masta Ace (“Gimme, Gimmie, Gimmie”) and Al-Shid (“38th & 8th”) join in the fray with their own gripes and stories on the female species. Front if you want, but the beats are so retarded here, that you’ll be forced to listen to J-Zone and crew’s fucked-up views, almost like slowing down to look at a car wreck. 

      And this is only really a few select tracks, there’s plenty more here that holds this together as a solid album. Zone even says “fuck the dumb shit” and looks past the Demigodz / Eastern Conference beef, employing both Celph Titled and Copywrite, who each come with it on their respective tracks (“Eatadiccup”, “Prima Donna”). While Zone’s new persona can get tiring at times (see “Too Many Babies”), his wall-to-wall blazing production and funny rhymes keeps it all in good fun. Pick it up, pick it up.

  Mixtape D.L.
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