City To City
J-Live, best known for his engaging lyrics and versatile delivery, returns with his third LP, and a soulful Philly flare. The Brooklyn native turned Philadelphia resident employs a sound reminiscent of days when lyrics were as important as innovative production. The Hear After has a lot to offer on both fronts despite the lack of high profile producers and industry trends although the production is hit or miss throughout. Lyrically each song is highly conceptual and well thought out but some of the flat and repetitive beats detract from an almost incredible album.
The Hear After begins appropriately with â€šÃ„ÃºHere,” an up beat track featuring a Knight Rider influenced bassline with some overlaying jazz and funk elements. This creates an energetic introduction for J to get loose and have fun. The next track, â€šÃ„ÃºAw Yeah.” uses subtly brilliant punch lines and metaphors making for some old fashioned feel good hip-hop, but eventually J loses steam with the monotonously upbeat â€šÃ„ÃºWhoever.â€šÃ„Ã¹
The more introspective J-Live comes through on tracks like â€šÃ„ÃºThe Sidewalksâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºBrooklyn Public.â€šÃ„Ã¹ While â€šÃ„ÃºThe Sidewalksâ€šÃ„Ã¹ takes on a much harder street savvy approach about transitioning from different cities, â€šÃ„ÃºBrooklyn Publicâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is a sentimental retrospective about growing up in New York. Each track is important to the successful concept of The Hear After, which develops into a coming of age album.
While there is a lot to praise, The Hear After still leaves much to be desired. The production is adequate and even spectacular at times but some tracks are flat and uninspiring. While the lyrics on these tracks are well written and delivered, the overall product is not up to par.