Don’t Sleep | 9th Wonder Presents: Jamla Is the Squad II

Don’t sleep on this new compilation from 9th Wonder. The original Jamla Is the Squad record came out in early 2014, and it was a really great album. It had some truly amazing verses from artists like Add-2, Rapsody, Elzhi, Phonte, Talib Kweli, Blu & Termanology. I was slightly saddened by Add-2’s departure from Jamla because he murdered everything he was on when the original album came out. This sequel is still good without him though. Khrysis set it off with a Reggae inspired beat, and it was awesome to hear Reuben Vincent, Ian Kelly, Heather Victoria, GQ & Rapsody go in one after another on Welcome to JamRoc. Rapsody easily had the best verse on that track in my opinion.

I don’t feel no threats from no one on the mic
Man, woman, tran, a legend, fam, I ain’t the one to try

It’s a pretty good opener. The first song from Actual Proof was dope too. I think Enigma rapped slightly better than Sundown on that track, but they both came through with good verses. The beat from Kev Brown was nice too. The Pharoahe Monch track was the first moment on the album where I was truly blown away. The beat from Khrysis actually kinda sounded like something Rick Rubin would make. Pharoahe Monch fucking snapped on it too, especially on that second verse. The way he was talking about murdering wack rappers from New York was fucking awesome. The song is dope af. The beat from Eric G. on No False Moves is smooth as fuck. I wasn’t blown away by the two verses from Reuben Vincent & GQ, but they were still pretty good. The Jericho Jackson song is another standout track. Conway the Machine was great on the first verse, but Elzhi fuckin’ murdered that shit. I love the smooth production from Khrysis too. I’m not familiar with that Don Flamingo guy, but he’s apparently signed to Roc Nation. His song was decent, but I’m definitely not gonna be listening to it again. I just didn’t really like the way every single line ended with him saying “YA HEARD MEH?” It just got annoying after a while. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed Japan by Heather Victoria because I didn’t really like any of her songs on the first album. I think a lot of it has to do with the lush production from The Gavin Quintet. She sounded really good singing over that jazzy beat. It’s a pretty good song. I’m not really familiar with that King Draft guy. I liked his song though. He’s pretty good. Both of his verses were nice on I Spy, and CJ Fly did his thing too. The production from Nottz on You Know I Gotta is phenomenal, and Reuben Vincent’s singing actually wasn’t bad. It’s definitely one of the more underwhelming tracks since he didn’t really rap, but I still enjoyed the song. Also, he’s not really gonna blow anyone away with his singing. It’s just tolerable. The Busta Rhymes track was kind of disappointing for me. I didn’t really enjoy it that much. It’s not a bad song, but it’s not what I wanted to hear. What I wanted was for Busta to spit his ass off over a hard hitting beat. That’s not what I got though. It’s a smooth, laid back song. It kind of reminds me of It’s a Party from The Coming. It seems like it might be targeting a female audience. I think it’s a decent track. I just won’t be returning to it. However, the next song is really great. Black Thought rhymed his fucking ass off about a relationship he was in with some girl. The beat switches up about halfway through the song, and it’s fucking glorious. The song is dope af. Good to Me is another really great song. I’m not familiar with Amber Navran, but she sang her ass off on that song. It’s smooth as fuck. The beat from Khrysis is really good too. The song by Ian Kelly & $wank is cool, but the way it’s mixed is really off-putting. It’s hard to hear Ian Kelly’s lyrics at certain points because the production is so loud. However, from what I could hear, both of the verses sounded really fuckin’ good. The song with Rapsody & J. Cole was the lead single from this album. It’s definitely one of the best songs on the project. Cole’s verse was cool, but Rapsody definitely stole the show. She fuckin’ snapped on that second verse. I love how they took the percussion out for the first part of her verse. The song’s dope af. It transitions really smoothly into the song by SiR, which is pretty good too. The solo song from GQ is pretty dope. I like the way it’s structured. It’s just one long verse over a simplistic beat from Khrysis. It’s a dope song. I’m not familiar with ThHappyHr. I did some research—in other words, I googled their name—and couldn’t seem to find any information about them. I think it’s just one guy actually. He’s a singer. His song was pretty decent, but it’s not something I’d wanna come back to in the future. It’s not a bad song. It’s just not for me. The Big K.R.I.T. song is really good. I wasn’t really blown away by it like I wanted to be, but it was pretty dope. David Banner came through with a dope verse. I’m not familiar with that Jakk Jo guy, but he wasn’t bad at all. I feel pretty much the same way about the track with J.I.D. His verse was pretty good, but he didn’t steal the spotlight from Rapsody. She had the better verse in my opinion. I wasn’t crazy about the beat from Khrysis to be honest. It’s not really bad, but it’s definitely one of the weaker beats on the album. The beat on One Love by Heather Victoria is very similar to the beat from One Love by Nas. It has the same bells. It’s supposed to be like a Jazz version of that song. It’s really dope. I like it more than the first song she had on this album. The beat from Ka$h on the second song from Actual Proof was nice. Both members of the group rapped pretty well. It’s a good song. The simplistic hook kinda sucks, but other than that it’s dope. I don’t know who that Niko Brim guy is, but he fuckin’ snapped on that first verse of Goodfellas.

This one’s for my niggas on the block totin’ glocks
Sellin’ rocks for the guap duckin’ shots from the cops & the opps

Correction: This verse was actually performed by $wank, not Niko Brim.

The weird beat from Khrysis is really cool too. GQ & Rapsody had great verses as well. It’s a really good closing song. All in all, I think this album is really good. It’s not quite as great as the first album in my opinion. It’s still good though. There are a lot of songs on here that I really enjoyed. None of the tracks are flat out wack to me. There are just a handful of songs that aren’t really that good. They’re outweighed by good songs though. This is a dope album. I fuck with it.

Favorite Song: Crazy
Least Favorite Song: Ya Heard Me




One comment

  1. Good review. Niko Brim is actually a dope MC from NY, Mount Vernon to be exact, it would be cool to read your opinions on his projects.

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