Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jean Grae: The Evil Jeanius

by Blue Sky Black Death

Reviewing this album raises some interesting questions about the state of the music industry; the way artists get treated by their labels, and ultimately, how you credit hip-hop albums.

This is an album of ten songs by the production duo Blue Sky Black Death, who have had a tremendously productive year, releasing three albums, and a variety of tracks. I've liked BSBD since I got their album with Holocaust a couple of years ago. These guys are definitely very talented, and are charting out new territory for themselves (Slow Burning Lights is utterly beautiful). What I don't get is, when Jean Grae is the MC on all ten tracks, why does her name come second? This album is getting filed under 'B' on most websites. More than that, Jean has said on her Myspace blog that she isn't seeing a single penny from sales of this disk. That doesn't seem right to me.

As for the music itself, it's fantastic. BSBD layer their tracks with dark, soulful samples, and build a sense of atmosphere that is a nice counterpoint to Jean's work with 9th Wonder. Jean's always had more than a little 'evil' in her, and it's nice to see when it comes out. She also is a little more introspective on some of the tracks.

Stand-outs include 'Threats', which is a re-make of the Jay-Z song; 'It's Still a Love Song', 'Take it Back' and 'Lights Out'. 'Nobody'll Do It For You' is like a 'This is Your Life' walk through Jean's older songs.

This is a really good album. I don't like that it makes me feel guilty. I like Jean and BSBD equally, and they are artists that I like to support. Jean - if you're reading this, I feel like I owe you a few drinks the next time you come through Toronto.

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