featured REVIEW

90



J-Rock Streetwize Ghetto Groovz • 1991

If you have this in your collection you better cherish it, because this album is a tough one to find: J-Zone’s aware of it: '…that J-Rock 'Streetwize' album that DJ Premier and Easy Mo Bee produced back in 1991. The beats were nuts! It's crazy rare independent shit, before both of them blew up as producers'. And the staff of SpineMagazine: 'Where the hell was this one hiding?!'. Don’t expect to pay less than 70 $ on E-Bay for it. Besides rare the album’s dope.

The beats are funky as hell with a lot of nice cuts (mostly KRS and Rakim samples) and horns. J Rock the Messiah drops dope lyrics, telling stories about pimpin, hustling, trying to survive in the hood, which would make Jeru the Damaja jealous. 'Stepping away is ya best move', he brags in the opening track 'Let Me Introduce Myself', produced by Easy Mo Bee, with a fresh Humpty Hump sample in it. The only single of the LP is 'Neighborhood Drug Dealer': another tale from the crack side, told over a a fat bass line with a crazy, hypnotic guitar sample. More dopeness on 'Don't Sleep On Me', a great, smooth song with a funky xylophone and a soulful voice sampled in it and, again, nice cuts.

The songs are altered with funny (typical ghetto humour) but satirical skits. J Rock doesn’t always brag and boast on this album but he’s also critical for society, like on the tracks 'Save the Children', an ode to all the abducted and murdered children of the hood, and 'Let’s Get It Together', an appeal to the black people to stick together and use knowledge (evidently: there’s a Martin Luther King sample at the beginning of the track).

Back to pimpin now with 'Around My Way' where J Rock celebrates his talents as a womaniser: 'J Rock’s the man, collecting girls like stamps'. More pimpin in 'The Pimp', a DJ Premier production with a fat thumpin bass line and ill lyricism with nice, funny metaphors, 'abracadabra, I pull a rhyme out a hat', and typical Premier cuts. Another Premier production is the very short track 'The Real One', a typical Premier cut that reminds us of the beats he did on Gang Starr’s first two albums. In 'Ghetto Law' (with another KRS sample in the chorus) J Rock gives props to his homies Marley Marl, Chuck Chillout, the Awesome Two and his producer Jaz-E (who deserves some attention too for his also dope cuts on the album).

"I get an encore for kickin funky metaphors', J Rock does indeed, unfortunately, this funky dope album was left without a follow-up. Not only the songs were remarkable but also the cover, showing a purple Porsche and J Rock wearing his Reebok’s… How funkier can it get? We love it.


POSTED ON 10|26|2004 by cpf

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