Album Review | Jason Griff & Alaska – Human Zoo

This album was released on September 3rd this year. Honestly, I won’t be surprised if this ends up being one of my favorite albums of the year. I first heard of Alaska when he was featured on Cannibal Ox’s amazing 2001 album, The Cold Vein. I’d gone years without hearing anything else from him, and then in 2020 I started getting into more underground shit that he was featured on. I think he’s a fantastic lyricist, and a super slept on MC in general. On the other hand, we have Jason Griff who’s an incredibly talented producer signed to Insubordinate Records. These two artists working together is exciting enough, but on top of that this album has some incredibly intriguing features. I think this project is gonna be an absolute treat to listen to, so I’m pretty excited for it.

The album begins with No More Music for the Suckers, which has a pretty cool Electronic-sounding instrumental. I really like the way this song is structured. The verse from Alaska is fire too.

I'll Old Yeller your dogma
This might get awkward, the Titanic deck & orchestras
I never caught a buzz workin' in corporate offices
Lost myself on the tour bus, became an awful fuck
But you're in luck, the moral is as it always is
It don't exist, this ain't no one size fits all shit
It's not the Olive Garden, got me out here a la carte'in
Fat man, foul mouth, Alaska on his Eric Cartman

I’m sure I misquoted some of those lines, but it is what it is. I think the verse here is fire, and the production is really good. The song is dope. It’s followed by Juice, which has one of my favorite beats on the album. I think it’s a pretty weird instrumental, but it works really well. I appreciated the diss to Candace Owens from Alaska. That line about Obama being a drone-striking mass-murderer was fire too. The first verse was good enough, but he really snapped on the second verse.

I'm pro-vaccination, pro-procrastination
Prototype for quid pro quo-castinator

I really like the hook from Alex Ludovico too. The main appeal for this song is just Alaska’s rapping though. He slaughtered this track. I think it’s dope as hell. It transitions pretty nicely into Animal Farm, which has another really great instrumental. The song features an artist named Love, Ulysses, whom I’d never heard of before, but he did a pretty great job on this song. I like the way him and Alaska were trading verses. They both rapped really well here. The song is dope. Track 4 is called Tyranny of Evil Men, and it has another one of my favorite beats on the project. It kinda sounds like something I’d hear in an old video game. It made me think of Kirby 64 for some reason. The first verse from Alaska is great, and I like the hook from PremRock a lot too. It would’ve been cool if he spit a verse, but Alaska definitely held the track down on his own.

Make your head nod, and that's as modest as I'm gonna get
Modernist demolished by the modicums of modern shit
Maybe it's a post-modern martyrdom for postpartum
Postcards from the edge if something's dead up in the rose garden

Again, I probably misquoted his bars, but I did the best I could. Anyway, I think the song’s really dope overall. It’s followed by Extremely Online. The beat on this track sounds a lot more glittery and ethereal than any of the preceding instrumentals. It’s pretty good. The verse from Alaska on this track is great too.

You're living in the hell that you created
You thought it'd be a safe space, thought it'd be a safe haven
Look at all these white saviors, think you might be racist
Fetishizing black struggle all up in your Facebooks
All over your Instagram stories and your Twitter feeds
The algorithm self-perpetuating, yo, that shit repeats
Mirrors your behavior then your habits and your patterns
Don't resist your new religion, don't resist your new sabbath
Skin is botched, dopamine rush, and it's a sin to stop
Source of my cynicism: K-Pop & Russian bots
Ivan Drago, think for yourself 'cause I forgot, bro
Narratives of bullshit, never let them be your gospel

I love the way the beat switches up after this point. I don’t know who I’m more impressed by between Alaska & Jason Griff. The beat is fire, and Alaska killed it. This is easily one of my favorite tracks on the album. I think it’s dope as hell. The following track is entitled Poison Pills. Once again, the production here is really fucking cool. It sounds like a spaceship in the form of music. I know that doesn’t make much sense, but just trust me. Alaska’s verses on this track are fire, and I even like the hook. The song is dope. The beat on Reboot is pretty good, although not one of my favorites on the album. It’s the kinda beat that would only work with really good rappers. Thankfully, Alaska & Fatboi Sharif both killed this track. I think Fatboi Sharif sounds awesome over this beat. The way he was trading verses with Alaska was really cool. Alaska’s flow on this track is buttery smooth too. I love it. This is definitely another one of my favorite tracks on the album. I think it’s dope as hell. It’s followed by another highlight for me entitled Petty King. This track has my favorite beat on the whole project. I love how dark, yet melodic it is. I think it’s fire. Alaska killed this track too.

There's a loneliness in timelessness
I make these songs 'cause how else will I know I exist
If no man is an island then why am I a nihilist?
I guess I'm in denial on some infantile child shit

The second verse is even better than the first one.

I remember being fresh-faced, first took advantage of
I thought they was my friend and my consent hid the damages
Years later I removed all my bandages
And noticed all the wounds from the shame and abandonment

The hook is pretty good too. I just love Alaska’s writing here. I think the song is dope as hell. The following track is entitled Perfect Tense, and it’s another really dope track. The production didn’t seem that interesting to me at first, but I love the way the percussion builds here, especially during the second verse. Alaska of course killed the verses too.

It's a manifest destiny
I don't like it when people stand next to me
It's not about the taste, it's a texture thing
So ask yourself, motherfucker, what set you claim

Like I kind of alluded to earlier, this track has one of my least favorite beats on the album, but I don’t think it’s bad. The percussion saves it honestly. The song is dope overall. It’s followed by Rules to the Human Zoo, which I’m kind of torn on. On one hand, it’s incredibly disappointing. It has features from a ton of artists that I’m a big fan of; Curly Castro, Rob Sonic, Breeze Brewin, Zilla Rocca, Defcee, and Open Mike Eagle are all credited here. However, none of them spit a verse. They all perform the hook one at a time. It’s kinda cool, but when I saw this song in the tracklist I was expecting an awesome posse cut. The song itself is still very good despite my being disappointed. It has a really hard-hitting, bouncy instrumental, and Alaska killed the verses.

Someone's always watching and all politics are local
Populists are full of shit, and cops still using chokeholds
Insecure people tend to be the most boastful
You wanna find success? Ditch them pocket watching broke dudes

Again, even though I was disappointed by the features here, I still really enjoyed the song. I think it’s dope. The penultimate track is entitled Heaven & Hell in Nashville. I really like the production, and the first verse from Alaska is great. The hook features vocals from someone named Eloise Baker-Robbins, and they sound pretty strange to me. I feel like the melody that she’s singing doesn’t really fit over this beat that well. It’s definitely one of the oddest moments on the album. It doesn’t really ruin the song for me though. With that said, this track is far from a highlight for me. I think it’s pretty good, but it’s not one of the best moments on the album. The content is pretty interesting though. I really fuck with the song lyrically. It’s a pretty good track. The closing song is entitled Ode to Scorcese, and it has a feature from the late Scorcese Lorde Jones. I really like the dark production from Jason Griff, and I of course appreciate the content from Alaska.

Yo I got the news and I couldn't believe it
I was shellshocked and numb on a winter's early evening
Now the numbness is gone, it's just pain, loss, and grieving
I see it through a father's eyes, your young gods need ya
I need to take a breather 'cause the thought of it just crushes me
Everyone's destroyed, I hope you know how much we loved you, G

I unfortunately can’t really get into the second verse from Scorcese since it’s performed through a phone call. I can’t really say whether or not the verse is good just because it’s so muffled and distorted that I can barely make out what he’s saying. It was nice just to hear his voice again though. Overall, I think the song is pretty dope.

This album is pretty great. I think Jason Griff’s production is really good, and I was consistently impressed by Alaska’s flows and writing. There’s not a single track on this album that I don’t like. I really don’t have any consistent gripes with the project. I love the cover art too by the way. I think this album is the perfect length too. I kinda hope Jason Griff & Alaska put out another album together though because this went over really well. A sequel would be dope. Anyway, check this album out and let me know what you think. I think it’s dope.

Favorite Song: Petty King
Least Favorite Song: Heaven & Hell in Nashville


Grade: B+

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