Comedian DC Pierson has apparently written a book, Crap Kingdom, and with it comes an accompanying compilation imaginatively titled Songs For Crap Kingdom. There are several acts on there, none of which I’m familiar with unfortunately, but OTU favourite Jean Greasy offers a great contribution with this laidback effort.
The production’s incredibly relaxing, combining barely-there, airy synths with punchy percussion and the faintest dash of additional electronic elements. It’s a soundscape that’s about as easygoing as anything I’ve heard anyone rap on, and as a result it allows Jean’s personal, introspective lyricism to both be showcased and gently supported, with her verses cycling through a plethora of relatable issues, from a lack of direction to health concerns. Her diversity is on show too, as she also sings a rather soft hook to accompany those verses, a feature that blends wonderfully with that mellow backdrop to add a final layer of reflectiveness, and finishes off what is a superbly laidback slice of music that I’m sure fans of many genres will appreciate.
A collection of unreleased or obscure Jean Grae rap tunes. There’s some sweet little backstories on the songs as well. It’s on there when ya get em. I always give away free music, you guys say you’ll pay for stuff.
Jean seems to be gearing up for some more regular releases this year, and starts things off with a collecton of loosies from 2004-2010. Her releases in recent times have been somewhat sporadic, with the odd track here, video there and of course the occasional mixtape, so it’s good to have her starting the year off with 10 unreleased tracks, a precursor to her upcoming LP. Stream it for free below, and be sure to support and buy the album if you’re a fan.
As per every year, the only thing we check the BET Awards for is these excellent ciphers, and this year is no different.
The 2012 edition brings you some utterly superb lineups, with the clip up here being a personal highlight as it features several of my favourite upcomers-A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Childish Gambino and Angel Haze, alongside newcomer Driicky Graham. The rest of the ciphers feature the likes of T.I., B.o.B., Talib Kweli, Jean Grae, DMX, Eve, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Kurupt, DJ Quik, Xzibit, Mac Miller, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, Hopsin and more.
Plenty of promise, click on below to check out all of the ciphers. Who do you reckon had the standout performance? Big fan of Joey Bada$$ with the cipher up here, and my winners for the rest are below.
Jean Grae’s self filmed, directed and edited dark, noir like full length video for her latest single, “Kill Screen.” A prequel? A sequel? Both? Look for the hidden messages in between frames..
It’s rare we get visuals from Jean Grae, and whilst her rap credentials are there for all to see, this makes for a great opportunity to show herself off as a more rounded entertainer. What it’ll also do is mess with your head.
The video’s extremely dark, both literally and figuratively, and requires intense viewing to get any remote hint as to what the hell is going on. There’s a recurring theme of psychological breakdown and oppression, and even to patch that theme together requires careful observation of those hidden message. For more, you’re going to have to watch this: I don’t want to spoil the video as a key element of it is the interactivity and dedication required. I’ll give you only two tips: don’t assume the scenes are sequential, and look for a link within one of the frames.
With layers of subtlety, interactivity and sophistication that most artists in any genre could only dream of, requiring you to properly watch, focus on and engage with it, things which are easy to avoid doing with most videos. Clever and skilled work by Jean, look out for Gotham Down.
It’s both rare and great to get new music from Jean, and on top of that this track is seemingly set for two accompanying videos, the first to drop on Monday. It’s a good job too, the audio she’s provided is excellent. Her raps are as witty and clever as ever, often boasting genuine feats of lyricism with the double entendres, intricate wordplay and much more besides; for a full breakdown, I’d highly recommend checking out the Rap Genius page for it, as it really attests to Grae’s incredible attention to detail. Yet another example of the fantastic skills Jean has, and let’s hope there’s more where that came from. Stream below, download here.
The excellent Jean Grae dropped off a track from her upcoming Cake or Death project a couple of days back, and it’s quite possibly one of her best efforts to date.
Opening with a smooth, jazzy intro, the soft instrumentation cradles you into a state of utter relaxation, and the introduction of percussion around 90 seconds in doesn’t break the flow at all, combining superbly with the mellow piano melody and deep bass plucks. Jean steps in with some fantastic storytelling raps that paint a vivid picture of a complicated relationship, coming through on a lighter, more laidback style that suits the mood of the production perfectly, whilst ensuring her slick flows are packed densely with poignant lyricism. Few do ‘relationship rap’ as well as Jean (see her feature on Wale’s Goodbye) and this is a great piece of hip-hop that fans of other genres will be able to appreciate too.
Having been a big fan of the music that the Idle Warship trio (Talib Kweli, Res and Graph Nobel) put out back in 08-09, I’m glad to see them continue the collaborative work with this effort. Interestingly though, Talib doesn’t actually feature here and this is an all-female track, which makes for a nice change of pace in our testosterone-filled rap world.
Grabbing Jean Grae along for the ride is most certainly a welcome addition, and she opens the track with a quickfire flow that brings a nice dose of energy to match this lively, uptempo DJ Khalil production. She’s followed up by Jay Knocka who delivers a decent verse of her own, sandwiched between some catchy vocals from Res and Graph, who step in with two hugely listenable vocal verses. Certainly, it’s easy to enjoy that blend of both rapped and sung verses, and backed by a bouncy production it all combines for a solid all-round track, with hopefully many more to come.
The hugely anticipated mixtape from Jean Greasy arrives right on time, and I’m sure there’ll be no shortage of takers on this free 11-track project.
It’s fair to say Jean’s really developed her reputation and fanbase with her entertaining tweets, being very responsive to fans as well as broadcasting her natural wit, and certainly stands up as one of hip-hop’s true beneficiaries of Twitter. This project comes at a great time to capitalise on that growing buzz, and the releases we’ve heard from it so far suggest the whole tape should live up to the hype. Free grab and stream available below.
As DJ Drama puts it at the very beginning here, ‘at some point you’ve gotta realise and recognise’. The hip-hop heads have always known Grae’s got some real skills on the mic, and here she comes through with a decent track from her upcoming Cookies or Comas mixtape. Simple percussion-heavy instrumental gives those raps centre-stage, and Jean delivers with some typically witty, confident raps that come packed in a variety of flows. Pretty much just solid spitting all the way through (plus some hilarious adlibs at the end), this is a very enjoyable listen that the hip-hop heads will really enjoy. Cookies or Comas coming 23rd June.
Sadly, Soundcloud decided to play up yesterday, so forgive me for the delay on this collaboration. After a short intro, the track blasts into life with an aggressive, in-your-face Jean Grae verse. Can’t argue with some of her clever raps, and it sets the tone superbly. Monch comes through next with a range of flows that display his versatility, switching things up throughout to keep you intrigued. Royce closes off with another good verse, and though he has one or two of the nicest lines, he probably has to take the loss on this one. The beat is frantic, explosive and certainly adds to the intensity of the verses, making for a very solid all-rounder. W.A.R. coming March 22nd.
Now that the Nicki Minaj hype has (finally) been quelled, we can get back to the truly talented female MCs in the game, and they don’t come much better than the brilliant Jean Grae.
RJD2 is the man behind the boards on this one, serving up a typically-eclectic production that derives melodies from an admirable range of styles: the last minute or so of the track really allow you to appreciate this beat. The stretched, winding feel of the production is taken on harmonically by Jean to begin with, as she delivers a smooth set of vocals to open things up, and also for the hook. The more electronic influences in the production come to prominence as Jean switches her style to a well-paced, addictive flow in the verses that will undoubtedly captivate the hip-hop listeners.
Starting point for anyone unfamiliar with native tongues collective Black Sheep.
The fun-loving front-man Dres is back with a new album From The Black Pool Of Genius and going by the strength of the first two singles, it’s just what hip-hop needs.
Both are very different tracks in their own right. One a more party oriented track with underground female MC Jean Grae giving a helping hand with some vocals. The second is much more the Black Sheep we know with a funky baseline and smooth enjoyable rhymes.
If you’ve been bumping that new Roots album then I have a sneaky feeling you will enjoy the return of Black Sheep. From The Black Pool Of Genius will be available on June 29th and features guests including De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, AZ and Rhymefest.
I don’t know much about this Ski Beatz guy (it’s technically his track) but have those 4 on guest spots is frankly incredible. What a line-up!! The real hip-hop heads will definitely be rushing to the link for this one.
The beat is pretty simple, but allows the rappers to take centre-stage. Each one does their own thing well, and you’d probably be a bit of an idiot to miss this one eh?