September 21, 2018

Jean Grae "This Week" (Spin Magazine, 2004)

"[Jean Grae is] a fiery underground MC who's thrown down with Talib Kweli and the Roots, among others. Born in Capetown, South Africa, Grae, 27, is the daughter of noted jazz musicians - singer Sathima Bea Benjamin and pianist Abdullah "Dollar Brand" Ibrahim - who moved the family to New York City after Duke Ellington invited them to come play with his band. The brainy Grae was accepted at NYU without finishing high school or taking the SATs, but dropped out to rock the mike. On her second album, This Week, Grae spits biting, intricate rhymes about "normal everyday shit, freak-out nightmares, positive shit, fuck-you-up shit" over thumping, mainstream-friendly beats by 9th Wonder and 50 Cent fave Midi Mafia. Known for her vengeful lyrics - she wrote the 25-step song "How To Break Up With Your Girlfriend - Grae wanted This Week to be less "dark and angry." But industry sexism still dogs her. "It's hard to be a female MC and keep your clothes on," she says. "I'm flattered that magazines ask me to do things, but it's not me. They're like, 'What's wrong with you? Do it!' No! You do it!'" - Spin Magazine (10/04). Jean Grae closed out her "Thank You's" on This Week saying, "No ill words this time around. Karma is a muf***ka. You'll get yours. Peace and Pink Lotion. Jean Greasy.... Jeanius Coming Soon." This Week was released on this day in '04, listen below...

Original article in Spin Magazine (October, 2004)