February 17, 2015

J-Live "Unsigned Hype" (The Source, November 1995)

"Over the last year or so, New York has been struggling to restructure its previously inviolate aura of hip-hop invincibility. The deluge of critical and commercial attention showered upon acts from other locales left many heads in the Apple caught up in conniptions over NY's decreasing significance. For a region used to primacy in the beat and wordplay arena, such slippage was a bitter pill to swallow, a blow to long-set complacency. But NY has been revitalized of late. That impetus, for the most part, has been borough wide. Shaolin's Wu-Tang, Queens' Mobb Deep and Nas, and Brooklyn's Gang Starr, B.I.G. and Boot Camp Clik have all heightened NY's once-waning visibility on hip-hop's increasingly far-flung stage. But Harlem, once the cultural heart of Black New York, has played a curiously reduced role in this effort. Nineteen-year-old Jean-Jaques Cadet - aka J-Live - holds the potential to change that." Check an ill remix of "Longevity," by Tom Caruana, cont'd below...

"J-Live is a genuine wordsmith, a brother cast in the mold of true MCs. His lyrical steelo consists of pointed wordplay delivered in a subtly complex manner somewhat reminiscent of rhyme technicians like Prince Poetry from Organized Konfusion, Large Professor and O.C. On "Longevity" - a driving, uptempo track layered by shimmering vibes and deep, haunting textures - J-Live spits metaphoric breakdowns in a calm, almost nonchalant fashion: "With or without the mic my mind gets phonetic / The mouth gets kinetically energetic / It's simple as your alphabetics / My words you mark and never mock / Long as my name has been Jean-Jaques." "Braggin' Writes" further enhances the old school ethic that runs through J-Live. As a simple kick-snare progression buttered up by frenzied live cutting (done by J-Live himself) provides rhythmic framework, he runs straight through on some out and out battle shit: "I displays my credentials over instrumentals / And my potential, increases at a rate that's exponential / It's detrimental f#cking with my thesis / My penetration's exact, like amniocentesis." Son just may have the jewels to set Rotten Apple's core aglow." - The Source.