featured REVIEW


Jake One White Van Music Rhymesayers • 2008

With a wide range of artists from the underground, the mid-and main-or whatever stream and even local Seattle talents included, not many producers (except for Hi-tek and Statik Selektah maybe) succeed in gathering such a diverse line-up. Ok, the result is not a cohesive and constant sound (there’s a chance that you have a radio-sensitive banger followed by a backpack anthem) but at the other hand it’s a good opportunity for Busta fans to meet Blueprint and for Vitamin D fans to meet Bishop Lamont and, more importantly, Jake One always manages to keep his trademark solid samplefull and melodic boom-bap sound.

Plus this album does have its share of lyrical highlights, unlike some other producers’ albums where the stress lays clearly on the production itself and where having a name on the guest list is more importantly than what those featured artists actually have to say. There’s MF Doom who rips the guitar-driven 'Trap Door' with nonsical greatness ('No curse words, DOOM the worst church nerd verse heard, appear blurred to a million true believers, here's the supervillain arm dealer to the divas'), the excellent 'Bless The Child' with Little Brother proving that they still stand in the post-9th Wonder era, Blueprint showing off his storytelling skills in 'Scared' and Casual’s 'Feelin My Shit' which instantly made us unearth his 'Fear Itself' album again. So is it a coincidence that they’re all signed to smaller labels or are we just prejudiced? Hmm..not really but we have to admit that we began listening to a track like 'The Truth' because Brother Ali was on it, at the same time discovering that Freeway does have flows, and furthermore realizing that Busta still is one of the leaders of the new school and even the coarse sandpapered voice of hyphy-ist Keak Da Sneak sounds at least peculiar on 'Soil Raps'.

So does that make 'White Van Music' the album we expected from Jake One? Well, there’s still some of the features that were more to be expected from. Slug and Posdneous don’t bring the fireworks on 'Oh Really', Guilty Simpson and Elzhi don’t have the electricity like they had on 'Motown 25' (off Elzhi’s 'The Preface') and Evidence, Alchemist and Prodigy disappear somewhere in the middle of the album. But the biggest mistake of Jake Oneder is to put the Young Buck track 'Dead Wrong' on there, which is both on production and on lyrical side a setback towards the rest of the album. 'White Van Music' proves that Jake One is a gifted producer with a network from deep under till way, way over the ground, of which this album is a good showcase, but as an album between albums, this one doesn’t hold ground among the best of them.

POSTED ON 10|24|2008 by cpf

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