The debut LP from Brother Reade is appropriately titled Rap Music, because, simply, that’s what it is, like calling a CD a CD or a tiger a tiger. While there are definite notes to be taken in some parts of the album, it is Rap Music, quite similar to many other albums that could easily be called by the same name. The vocal style on the album hits hard on every similar sound of rhyme and assonance, while the beat underlines it all, occasionally offering percussive rhythms that can stand on their own, and layered with the lyrics, can sometimes feel like the roles are reversed, where the underlining bassline carries vocals forward. This, however, is few and far between, a twinge of the ear heard in the song and then lost somewhere in the rap music. As I said before though, there are notable things within this record that of course don’t separate themselves from rap music, and don’t really rise above rap music, but are certainly commendable.
First, the lyric work of Jimmy Jamz is impressive by mere fact of its continuity of sound, a steady stream of words shooting out the mouth based around not just simple rhyme for two lines, but unceasing sound-play. The assonance acts quickly through words and involved consonants by uniting them in voice of a single vowel that sings sharp for every sound. here is not a moment to breathe in Jamz’s lyrics, drowning in the constant sound surging with every striking syllable, which certainly shows his skills as a wordsmith, but not so much in the way of melody, but that, of course, is rap music.
Secondly, Bobby Evans’ beats beat strong without gimmick, just as much attention paid to the precision of percussion as Jamz’ rhymes in songs like “Let’s Go” and “About the Rock.” The rhythm is repeatedly layered through out those songs, little noises of taps of drums and shaking symbols building momentum to a chorus where the music leaps in height and excitement and doesn’t simply walk into the chorus expecting shit to happen. The decadent beat to “Everywher I Go” matches perfectly with Jamz lyrics, fumbling drum sounds falling into the mundane bassline, fully equipped with cricket sounds echoing in the empty, phony, hollow men that exist on “Everywher I Go.” Other beats certainly catch some ears, but most of them serve the purpose of a hip hop beat, to underline the spoken words, but that, of course, is rap music, which is a good point.
Rap Music is rap music, and an excellent example of such, unpitched and unapologetic to make for static rhymed rhythms around money, sex, players, violence, insults, and shameless self-promotion, which Brother Reade knows very well. Jamz and Evans embrace everything about rap music in Rap Music, and so, any gripe to be had with Rap Music is really a gripe with rap music in general, any gripes I’ve voiced in the preceding review included. The song “Let’s Go” certainly shows Jamz and Evans enthusiasm for all that is rap music, so essentially, if you like rap music, you’ll like Rap Music. If not, well…
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