20 September, 2003@12:00 am
Heads sometimes need to be snatched back to when hip-hop was fun. In a time where bullshit like “making the band” and women shaking their tail feather is ruling the airwaves, Jemini The Gifted One brings along new beatsmith DJ Danger Mouse to transport hip hop back to the mid-nineties, when it was all about the producer chopping ill breaks and creating quirky innovative beats (think Prince Paul or Pete Rock) and an emcee whose job simply was to rip mics. With Jemini and Danger Mouse sharing the same agenda, the two collaborate to bring you Ghetto Pop Life. Don’t let the name fool you though; there ain’t nothing “pop” about this release. The emcee who flips in two voices (hence the name) and his newfound trackmaster are here, not to pop crystal and ride on 24′s, but to bring the exuberance back to hip hop.
Jemini and Danger Mouse work so cohesively as a unit that Air Jordan and Scotty would be green with envy. The Gifted One possesses the skills and also showcases his dexterity as an emcee as he flips through a tirade of subjects. From dissecting his stance as an African-American during the Bush era on the politically driven “Bush Boys” to weighing the ethics
of drug consumption on the humorous “Don’t Do Drugs” (check the jabs at our famous druggie celebrities). But we all recognize Jemini is at his best when he spends his mic time boasting about himself as seen on “The Only One” where he ruptures through DM’s raw-as-hell production. Danger Mouse’s production is just begging to be ripped apart by a no frills emcee
in which Jemini conveniently obliges. Not to mention the splendid “That Brooklyn Shit” where DM’s neck snapping snares collide with both of Jemini’s personas. DM consistently provides the platform for the gifted one to grab his proverbial nuts and put that extraordinary talent to work. Never does Jemini shaft the listener out of one red cent; it’s all about getting your money’s worth.
With Ghetto Pop Life being stuffed with Jemini’s dual personalities one has to wonder if there is room for anyone else. You gotdamn right!! Not only do the guest appearances blend so well with the theme, but also never do they sound out of place with the rest of the album. All have been a part of the enjoyment evolution and each sets forth their own unique qualities The one and only Prince Poetry comes through to trade verbal quips with the gifted one over a drum
pattern that would make Timbaland jealous on “Copy Cats”. Everybody’s favorite group of lushes, Tha Liks bring their braggadocio to the table on the rambunctious “What U Sittin’ On?” Mr. Disrespectful himself, J-Zone, pops up with one of his seldom heard vocal appearances on the cock-strong “Take Care Of Business”. The two emcees trade verses oozing of ignorance over DM’s solid throwback production. Danger Mouse’s shining moment comes on the Pharcyde assisted “Medieval”. Combining voices stripped from an operacirca the medieval times with rock solid production, Danger Mouse catapults this work of art to must be heard status.
Ghetto Pop Life is to hip hop heads what ESPN Classic is to the nostalgic sports fan. A nod to an era before bling bling and Bentleys overran our youth’s thoughts, before today’s plastic thugs could even spell 9 millimeter, before The Source became so damn political driven and diluted. Jemini and Danger Mouse succeed in bringing you back to that era. They succeed so well in fact that if you are a hip-hop head and turn a deaf ear to Ghetto Pop Life you are doing
yourself a serious disservice.
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