Sunday, March 20, 2005

Sort of Made Retail Part 7 - J-Live

This track is not exactly hard to come by, and since it's appeared J-Live's True School Revival promo/tour CD, a Fatbeats compilation album and even a Hiphopsite promo 7", the "never made retail" thing hardly applies, but this is easily one of his best moments. When he dropped "Longevity" / "Braggin' Writes" back in '95, J certainly impressed amongst a sea of mediocrity, and the DJ Spinna remix of "Braggin" certainly sealed the deal. His much delayed and heavily bootlegged debut wasn't entirely satisfying, but he certainly proved himself to a highly intelligent lyricist. His second album contained some great moments, but also saw him take the whole "positive rap" thing to disturbingly corny heights on several occassions.

In many ways, J-Live embodies much of what I don't enjoy about the New York indy scene - he can be so busy with creating clever/witty rhymes and concepts that whatever character he may have can get lost in the sauce, especially when his beats are less than compelling. Not to say that he's wack or anything, but a lot of his songs are just plain boring.

"The Day I Fell Off" is an example of a great J-Live record. There have been amusing songs about falling-off before, such as Kane's "Mr. Pitiful" and LL's "Cheesy Rat Blues", but the Live one plays it straight on this one, and manages to deliver an original and insightful track in the process.

J-Live - "The Day I Fell Off" (True School Revival, 2000)

Buy J-Live songs here...