Review: Jack Foley
HIP-hop fans rejoice, for here we have the real deal, an old
school hip-hop album that has to rate among the finest records
of this or any year in that particular genre.
Ghetto Pop Life marks the first-ever full length partnership
between one of New Yorks most skilled emcees, Jemini (aka
Jemini the Gifted One, aka The Funk Soul Sensation) and DJ and
super-producer, Danger Mouse.
And it's difficult to see how things could have been better.
From the opening strings of Born-A-MC to the angelic choir
of the Ghetto Pop Life intro, which gives way to a genuinely
funky beat (complete with self-congratulatory round of applause),
this is the real deal.
Hip hop, of late, seems to have got lost amid the high-profile
lyrics and shenanigans of Jay-Z and 50 Cent, yet this harks back
to a bygone era - combining that feelgood vibe which used to surround
the movement, with some telling social commentary.
The beats effortlessly mix a contemporary clipped funk style
with some classic breaks of old, and draw on a number of influences;
from the obvious Prince Paul, through to the cinematic excesses
of Ennio Morricone or Lalo Schiffrin - all of which lend it a
more epic feel.
It provides for quite an eclectic mix, with Jemini's smooth lyrical
style providing a near-perfect compliment to the musical diversity
Even the guest spots reflect the best of New York's hip-hop scene
(the album was recorded at the legendary D&D studios, home
to Nas, The Notorious BIG, KRS-One, Gangstarr, and Jay-Z), with
J-Zone and The Pharcyde dropping some choice lyrics on tracks
such as Taking Care of Business and Medieval.
Consistently mesmerising, the album then proceeds to go into
overdrive during the barn-storming, The Only One, with
its retro style and David Holmes-inspired guitar loops, and the
truly mind-blowing Bush Boys, a full-on assault on the
Bush regime, which contains fragments of presidential speeches,
offset against the dropping of bombs on the children of Iraq.
The beat which accompanies it is suitably aggressive, and really
makes you sit up and take notice.
Ghetto Pop Life, in short, is the type of album that is
destined to become a modern masterpiece; one which, once listened
to, is very hard to remove from the stereo. I doubt whether many
albums will come this close to perfection this year.
2. Ghetto Pop Life Intro
3. Ghetto Pop Life
4. Omega Supreme
5. What U Sittin On? feat. Tha Liks
6. The Only One
7. Take Care of Business feat. J-Zone
8. That Brooklyn Shit
10. Copy Cats feat. Prince Po from Organized Konfusion
11. Don't Do Drugs
12. Medieval feat. The Pharcyde
13. Bush Boys
14. Here We Go Again
15. I'ma DooMee
16. Knuckle Sandwich