Everyone knows that Bigg Juss can sermonize. The man made a career of nursing the obtuse and started a movement as a founding member of Company Flow. When Pastor Bigg Jus takes the pulpit on Poor People’s Day, expect fireworks. He’s a preacher with a steak knife and a sharp tongue, spitting fire and brimstone on his backpacker hip-hop congregation. He has every right to be angry about the impact of globalization and exploitation, but his fury tends to outweigh his clarity.
At times, Poor People’s Day is incendiary and indicting. When Jus drops gems like “These rappers spit Vagina Monologues cuz most of them are way to pussy to say shit,” he’s deftly assaulting both heads of state and sucka emcees. He claims on the well-named “Supa Nigga: “I make nerdy suburban emcees be on some gun shit.” Jus provokes you with warnings of war on “When They Start…1997 Uptop Shit” and sieges the administration on “Illustrations of Hieronymus Bosch.”
But mostly, Jus is too busy toying with abstraction and sci-fi nonsense to make his manifestos coherent. For every astute observation, Jus wanders off the deep end, wrapped in his prose. On “Energy Harvester,” he puffs incongruously: “Skin made of solar panels/Photosynthesis be pumping chlorophyll intravenous through my incisors.” Don’t fault Juss for passionately twisted verses, but he seems to mistake cleverness with the incomprehensible. Fortunately, if Jus loses you, he left his most straightforward epiphany emblazoned on the actual CD. “Being poor is not a crime,” it reads. If only the rest of the album was so direct.
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