Jean Grae – Jeanius
Babygrande (release date TBD)
Hip-hop / Rap
The Internet can be a cruel mistress. Sure, it’s good for communicating and finding information and even sharing. But apparently some kind of sharing is wrong.
That’s the case with Jeanius. This 2005 collaboration between underground wunderkind emcee Jean Grae and (then) up-and-coming producer 9th Wonder was heralded as the second coming and the album that would finally make Jean a name and get her the respect she deserved.
Sadly the album leaked on the Internet and despite universal praise it was shelved. Having heard it, I can say that it’s a shame it never saw the light of day.
First off, Jeanius made me a believer in Jean Grae. I’d heard her praised and heard some of her guest spots, but this album made me a fan. Furthermore, it serves to fan the spark within anyone who wants to believe in hip-hop again.
Jean manages to be intelligent without coming off as she’s talking down to the audience. She’s also clever and witty without resorting to too many pop culture references. She’s like if Eminem and Posdnuos had a kid.
“When the Rain Comes Down” is a tale of abortion that comes off as heartfelt and confessional rather than self-serving. On “This Girl” Jean’s flow matches 9th Wonder’s triumphant, building beat.
Speaking of 9th, he deserves his share of the spotlight considering he’s Jean’s collaborator. Jeanius truly is a joint venture. His beats carry his trademark soul samples and throwback vibe. Chopped loops and sped up samples are all present creating an atmosphere where the beats play the background while still remain worthy of attention.
This album really does make one feel that there’s a chance for hip-hop despite the current landscape. It reminds you how how pure hip-hop can be and gives you hope. However, the fact that it has yet to be released, or even scheduled to be released, dampens that hope a bit.