featured REVIEW


Raheem Jamal Boombox Brick Records • 2007

From Roxbury, Boston (of Ed O.G. fame) comes Raheem Jamal aka Radio Raheem, member of the two groups that ought to be legendary but just remained with modest underground fame, Electric Company and Project Move. Only a year after the Project Move album, each member, i.e. Anonymous, Moe Pope and Raheem, is about to release a solo album, first up is 'Boombox'.

Hooking up with Raydar Ellis, who took all the production on his own account, is one reason for this album to be excellent. Known for his recent 'Late Pass' release, Raydar is a producer that recycles old school elements into a new sound, an excellent soundtrack to Raheem’s intimate lyrics that talk mostly about music, love and life. As diverse as Raheem’s lyrics, Ellis throws in a number of breaks in the extremely up-tempo 'Right Now', in 'Women, Weed and Washingtons', a marriage of organ breaks and agile drums, and in the (much like a) James Brown-ode 'Live It Up'.

Besides the raw funk there’s mostly melodic jazz arrangements accentuating the mesmerizing lyrics in 'High Energy', where Raheem relates about the (his) past, the Project Move collabo 'Goodvibe', which is on a very smooth, cooled-out vibe ('We came for good vibes, pretty girls and good times'), and 'The Thang', with the recurrent subject of girls (and mostly failing in relationships, with the chorus going 'never be a friend of life') that is also dealt with in the first album single 'Not The One' ('I probably don’t deserve another pretty girl, the way I treated those, I might as well die alone').

So while Raheem reveals his inner feelings with a laugh and a tear (there’s fun, there’s regret), he creates a mix of emotions that fit well with the variety of Raydar Ellis’ innovative production. And so for the first time recording without a group, and then having only one producer behind him, Raheem has fulfilled the difficult challenge of entertaining an audience by little means. ‘Boombox’ is an exposition of talent, realness and emotions.

POSTED ON 06|20|2007 by cpf

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