It’s not often that an MC produces, mixes, and controls every aspect of his own music. Whether it succeeds or fails, at least J-Zone can say it’s his own. After two critically acclaimed EP’s, Zone comes with his first full-lengthed LP. Don’t let the “Presents the Old Maid Billionaires” on the cover fool you, because this contains no more guest appearances than any other album these days. Although, all the guest spots come in the form of J-Zone’s partners in crime, Al-Shid and Huggy. All three have no problem poking fun at themselves or others for the sake of humor, and unlike a lot of “F— everyone” MC’s these days, they seem to have credibility.
Musically, there’s a few things to expect from this LP. Conceptual songs, skits, humor, a lack of hooks, and lots of samples. So many samples that J-Zone could probably be sued 250 times over, but that’s another story. They are still well-used, and are a nice change of pace to the usual hip hop hooks. His off-beat humor is best displayed on tracks such as “The Bum-Bitch Ballad.” “Bitch stop staring, like I walked out of Bellvue / If you’re looking for enlightened men, I can’t help you / If you got your degree, you can still be a bitch / If you knew your baby’s father, maybe you wouldn’t be a bitch”. Not brilliant lyricism, but still quite entertaining over a laid-back beat. The women troubles continue on tracks such as “Ms. Platonic Part 2” and “Jailbait Jennifer.” The first weaving a tale ending in blue balls, and the latter describing an encounter with an underage girl. Both complimented with J-Zone‘s amazing production. Guess what, not only does he not like platonic friends and “bitches”, but he doesn’t like condoms, which he and Huggy discuss over “The Trojan War”.
Then of course there are the topics other than women. The first track on the album is “Q&A”, where J-Zone responds with humorous answers to a mock interview. I can understand how MC’s would get annoyed, considering everyone asks the same questions. Some people will recognize “No Consequences” featuring Huggy, which was included on his Bottle of Whup Ass EP. Both MC’s describe their actions in a world with no consequences, with funny results. For the most part, Huggy and Al-Shid can hold their own on the solo tracks. Although, I felt Huggy’s “I’m F—ing Up the Money” is the lowest quality track, mainly because of Zone’s uninspired production, and a lackluster hook. All three come together for possibly the best track on the LP, “Live from Pimp Palace East”. Which not only includes the strongest production, but J-Zone’s best performance.
Then there are the negatives. There was at least one instance for each MC where I felt they lacked a commanding Mic presence. J-Zone is a talented lyricist, and as I said at the beginning of the interview, he handles all aspects of the music. It’s evident that he’s one of the top producers in hip hop today, considering he can create a great piece of music entirely by himself. It’s a whole different ballgame from producing a track here and there. But sometimes he sounds uninspired. Not to the point where I think he’s performing poorly, but just not up to what he’s capable of. The other negative would be the use of skits. I have no problem with musical interludes or intro’s, but I do think it interupts the flow of the album when talking skits are introduced. This occurs three times, and after a couple of listens they just become skippable.
When it all comes down to it, this is a funny album. It’s not groundbreaking, and you’re not going to leave as a better person afterwards, but you’ll definitely enjoy it. Great production, humorous lyrics, clever usage of samples, and talented MC’s. Think of how hard he must have worked in putting this together, including production, mixing and so on. Now think twice before you bootleg an underground artist. If they don’t need the support, who does?
Reviewed By RhymeLife.Com for HipHopHotSpot.Com