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14 August, 2006@12:00 am

    It is very daring to step out of the box of making “everyone” records and create something specifically based on beliefs that are near and dear to your heart. Lord Jamar may best be known as 1/3 of the legendary group Brand Nubian who’s religious and political stances separated them from most any other group.  Since then (their last album was 2004′s Fire In The Hole) the group has gone in separate directions. While Puba and Sadat have dropped albums, Lord Jamar has had a short stint in acting (HBO’s OZ). Now Jamar is back to put his all into one album that personifies his religious beliefs with the aptly titled The 5% Album.
    For those that don’t know, the Five Percent Nation is an Islamic sect that is built on the premise that the black man is God and that only 5% of the population know and understand their true divinity (with 85% blind, deaf and ignorant and the other 10% devils using their knowledge to control the 85%). During the early 90′s, many hip hop artists aligned themselves with the Five Percent Nation and sprinkled their rhymes with many of their ideologies but never has an album been dedicated to this….until now.
    As stated before, this is The 5% Album and everything contained within the 21 tracks is dedicated to and about Five Percenters. The packaging even includes a pretty thick booklet which further explains the meanings and ideologies on the album and what exactly is a Five Percenter.
   So honestly there isn’t much to explain about the album’s concept, the real question here is how well this album executed. It is safe to say that Jamar did a great job putting this piece of work together. Gathering a who’s who of guests that also believe in the concept, Jamar has enough backing to convey his messages effectively. Take the RZA assisted “Deep Space” which features a smoldering beat that allows RZA and Jamar to weave their knowledge in and out of. Or how about the beautifully crafted “The Corner, The Street” which features Grand Puba joining his Brand Nubian brethren to narrate what goes on in the streets. A jewel of a moment lies in “Young Godz” where the seeds of GZA, ODB and Jamar hold it down for their pops with a very Wu-Tang like beat produced by Young Justice. Jamar even drops knowledge alone on “Supreme Mathematics” to let you in on what these numbers mean to the Five Percent Nation.
   Production and lyrical content are not the problem on The 5% Album, the only issue here is that it is a bit too lengthy and can wear thin at times. At 21 tracks deep, one may get tired after listening to the album a couple of times. Aside from that, Jamar is a solid emcee who does a great job articulating this concept but there is nothing outstanding about the flow. But does there really need to be excitement on an album all about enlightening?  Depends on who the listener is and that’s what really gauges the enjoyment of this album. If you are looking for the lyrical dexterity of Lupe, the energy of Busta, the passion of Immortal Technique or just the mind numbing crack music of Rick Ross, you may not take to well to this album. But if you are in a mood to learn and appreciate then you must listen to The 5% Album.

  Mixtape D.L.
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