Album Review | black – JAZZ FOR JESUS

This album was released on September 17th in the year of our lord 2021. I’ve never heard black rap before, so I have no idea if I’m gonna like this or not. For whatever reason, I’m just gonna assume that it’s gonna be in the same vein as guys like Earl Sweatshirt, Navy Blue, lojii, MIKE, etc. Everything about it, from the title to the artwork to the name “black” just makes me think it’ll sound like those guys, but I could be completely wrong. I’ve spoken to black a lot through Discord, and he’s a pretty nice guy, so hopefully I don’t have to shit on this album. I did notice that there’s a placement from Rapsody3000, who did production on my favorite T.R.3 project, so hopefully that’s a good sign.

The opening song is entitled CALM, and it features production from someone named Protagonist. I think the beat is pretty cool. I feel like my assumption about this being like a [sLUms]. project was only half correct. The beat definitely sounds like something one of those guys would rap over, but black doesn’t really rap like them at all. The lyrical content is pretty different.

This big AR really make you stumble back, fuck boy
You really should be done with rap, enough noise
Your whole camp see you losing steam
Shells like Silverstein, my plug the giving tree

It’s far more hostile than anything those guys rap about. I do think that black’s voice sounds kinda similar to Earl Sweatshirt circa 2010 though. I like his voice, and I especially like how aggressive his vocal delivery is on this song. Unfortunately, I just don’t really care for his flow at all. It’s not terrible, but it reminds me of G Herbo, who I’m not really a fan of these days. It’s kinda sad because I actually like the lyrics a lot.

Chopper sing like Phyllis Hyman, nigga, beat you to submission
I told the bitch to hop off my dick, I’m too pretentious
Brodie got some issues talkin' 'bout "try some whippits"
2 lines of this shit’ll fry you different, calm your ass down

It’s an okay track overall. I definitely enjoyed it to some extent, but it’s not something I’m gonna be returning to. The following track is entitled Waco, and I really love the production here from Doc Laundry. It kinda reminds me of the instrumental from Danny Brown‘s Lost just because of the weird horn loop. I think the opening few lines on this track are pretty awesome.

Will men bleed?
Inner leak, we got the drop on on him, Wilhelm scream
The mission: will him to sleep
I face paint with the blood of my masters
We cut from a different fabric, my nigga
You don’t gotta touch to feel this static

There are some autotuned background vocals that come in during the hook, which I think sound surprisingly good. The lyrics & production on this track are really cool, but black’s flow prevents me from fully enjoying the song. Once again, I think it’s a decent track, but it’s not something I’m gonna be listening to again. Track 3 is entitled iron man, and it has production Vyrin. I honestly really hate the hook on this track. The lyrics are cool, but the melody just isn’t good to me. I also don’t really like the production on this track as much as the preceding couple of songs. It’s unfortunate because black’s flow is a bit more tolerable here for me, and I think the lyrics are kind of hilarious—particularly the line about Hillary’s Tobasco sauce.

Hipster bitches treat me like Tobasco in Hillary’s bag
On Reddit selling these Paul Danos nigga passes
3/5s to top 5, how the fuck they let it happen?
Gab gifted, kiss my ass, this a different praxis
I widen the distance, you niggas stick to yapping

Both of the verses on this song are pretty good, but aside from that I’m not feelin’ this track. I wouldn’t say it’s bad overall though. It’s just mediocre to me. The following track is entitled bad brains, and it’s pretty much the only track that I can actually see myself returning to. The lyrics on this song didn’t stand out as much to me, but this song has the most danceable beat on the album, and I didn’t really mind black’s flow that much. The way he rapped here actually reminded me of Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon to be honest. I don’t think they really have similar flows or anything. They just have similar attitudes in my opinion. The ad-libs are kinda similar too. Shoutout to Rapsody3000 for producing this song. I think it’s pretty good. Unfortunately, it’s followed by one of the weakest songs on the album, which is called TODAY WAS A GOOD DAY. I have to be honest… I hated this song. This is just not my type of music at all. The repetitive “EVERYDAY S’POSED TO BE LIKE THIS” chant is just annoying to me, and the fast-paced production from grimskys isn’t very good to me either. The song was already bad enough, but then the autotuned vocals came in, and that’s when the song completely went to shit for me. The thing is, I actually do like the lyrics on this song, so I guess it’s not complete garbage.

Walk numb through all the pain, every day s'posed to be like this
Found the courage to show my face, every day s'posed to be like this
Half step from floating away, every day s'posed to be like this
All these good feelings come in waves, every day s'posed to be like this

I appreciate the lighthearted, cheerful lyrical content, but I can’t fuck with this shit sonically. I think it’s pretty terrible. Thankfully the following song is far more tolerable. It’s called Ab-Soul, and I think it’s a decent track. The production from Erra is nice, and I actually like the verse from black. That PM Dawn line was cool. I don’t really like the hook on this track just because his flow doesn’t sound very good to me on that part, and I’m of course not really crazy about the autotuned vocals on the bridge, but they’re not as bad as they were on the preceding track. I actually think this is one of the better songs on the album to be honest. It’s not something that I’d return to, but it’s okay. The penultimate song is called Repunsel, and I’m not really a fan of the beat from Erra. It’s not trash or anything, but I just don’t enjoy it that much. Honestly, there’s really not a single aspect of this song that I like. Nothing about it stands out in an especially terrible way though. I’m not a fan of the melodic hook, and the verse didn’t really do anything for me. I mean, the perc 30 line was kinda humorous to me just because I think those memes are funny, but aside from that I didn’t really enjoy it. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad song, but to me it’s just mediocre. The closing track is called JAZZ FOR JESUS, and I’m not a fan of the glitchy production from Doc Laundry at all. That’s definitely my least favorite aspect of the song. There’s not really a hook on this track; black is pretty much just rapping the whole time with a short break between each verse. Again, I’m not really into his flow at all, but the writing is cool. This is definitely one of my least favorite tracks on the album though. I think it’s kinda bad to be honest.

I didn’t really enjoy this album personally. There are definitely good moments though. I think black’s greatest strength is his writing. I genuinely enjoyed a lot of the lyrics on this thing. Unfortunately, I just don’t really care for the way he flows. I also disliked most of the autotuned singing on this project. The production is kinda hit or miss, but I’d say it mostly hits. There were a couple really cool beats here. Overall, I wouldn’t say this is a bad album at all. It’s just mediocre to me.

Favorite Song: bad brains
Least Favorite Song: TODAY WAS A GOOD DAY


Grade: D+

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