Saturday, August 19, 2017

O.C. "Jewelz" (Vibe Review, September 1997)


"In 1994, underground champ O.C. licked off a shot at the industry with his now classic single "Time's Up," taking heads to task for seeking mass appeal. He followed it up months later with the stirring debut album Word...Life, which was met with tremendous critical acclaim but few record sales. After a three-year hiatus (broken only by his appearance on the second Crooklyn Dodgers record, "Crooklyn Dodgers 2") due to the collapse of his former record label, Wild Pitch, O.C. has returned to drop some gems on 'em - or, to be more precise, Jewelz. No longer rocking the how-many-words-can-I-fit-in-one-measure? flow, O.C. now rides the beat at a more natural pace, sinking into the groove comfortably. Where Word...Life was underground angst, Jewelz is melodic contentment. Having enlisted the talents of DJ Premier, the Beatminerz, Lord Finesse, Buckwild, O.Gee, and Showbiz, O.C. can lay claim to having one of the tightest production teams ever assembled."


"One bangin' little ditty off Jewelz is "M.U.G.," featuring a sedated Freddie Foxxx and a beautiful flute/piano loop courtesy of Primo. Another highlight is "Dangerous," in which O.C. and fellow Diggin' In The Crates crew member Big L melt all snail MCs with their salt-ass rhymes: "I made this cheese / It didn't grow on trees / Can you hold somethin'? / Sure, you can hold on these." The tightest joint on Jewelz, though, is the Finesse-produced title track in which O.C. analyzes where he's been, where he's at, and where he's going. Song for song, O.C. falters only once, on "Far From Yours" with Yvette Michelle... but I guess the Biz was right: "This is something for the radio." Thankfully, O.C. is still concerned with the decline of rap music, only now he's stopped criticizing and has started to lead by example, unveiling one of the most finely polished Jewelz this year has seen. I just hope other rappers have enough sense to follow him." - Vibe, Magazine (September, 1997).