It’s been awhile since J Rawls and J Sands dropped an album together. The much heralded Lone Catalysts have been virtually invisible – sans a few J Rawls releases – since they dropped the critically acclaimed Hip-Hop back in 2001. So, while we have sat and been drilled with crappy release after crappy release, the Lone Cats have been crafting their new album with another simple title and a message portraying what they are all about – Good Music. Will J Rawls and J Sands rise to the occasion and deliver a much needed album filled with true school hip hop? Or will they fall to the wayside and try to do too much and make the opposite of what the title suggests?
The intro alone speaks in volumes about what the Lone Catalysts are all about. “We’ve been waiting for so long/waiting to play for you some of our songs” before bumrushing into the scorching “Brothers Keeper.” It is evident off the top that the two haven’t lost a step since Hip Hop and plan to keep the Good Music coming. The beautifully landscaped “Ones We Miss” is a wonderful ode to the legends that have passed over the past few years. Sands rides the beautiful sample paying homage to those who have influenced him and many of us over time. “Once Before” almost feels Reflection Eternal-like with its moody production and laid back ambiance. Rawls comes correct with a lovely backdrop as Jonell and Tavaris delicately croon over the track without it sounding as if it is too much for the listener to handle. Sands is able to breeze though a plethora of topics. From simple love and growth (“The Right”) to the braggadocios (“Bad Music”) to the introspective (“The Ultimate”), J Sands does a solid job of blessing each and every topic.
While their previous venture was almost completely void of guest spots, Good Music packs a few of the homies in for the ride. In a play of lyrical dexterity, Mr. Complex, Wordsworth, Lil Sci, Thes One, PA Flex and El Da Sensei join J Sands to leap in for the rapping relay race “100 Bar Dash.” Each coming correct amidst the groovy J Rawls beat, “100 Bar Dash” is a reminder of what posse cuts should sound like. Donte (from Mood) and lyrical upstart Piakhan elegantly bless “La, La, La, La” which is yet another solid Rawls offering. Masta Ace pairs up with J Sands to speak on some ill fated journeys for “Taboo” while Grap Luva, Asheru and Sistah Shelli spill their guts on “L.I.F.E.”
If there is anything that one could nitpick about it would be that J Sands hasn’t “evolved” much as an emcee. Finicky listeners would like to see Sands switch up his style every now and then, and possibly experiment with different flows. But given the fact that J Rawls has provided some excellent production within Good Music, that nitpicking soon becomes a moot point. As a matter of fact, if J Rawls isn’t boosted into the hierarchy of premier beat makers with Good Music then the hip hop community is doing itself a serious disservice. They may not be lining their walls with gold and platinum plaques yet but Lone Catalysts easily accomplish what they set out to do- give you some “Good Music.”
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