Chicago has become something of a rap music hub in the last few years with a lot of new artists emerging from the area. “Philosopha” with his new album, “Too Dope” seems to be focusing more on quality than involving himself in the drama and infighting idiocy that often plagues the Chicago hip hop scene. He has a unique delivery that is slow and deliberate, almost hypnotic…with a lot of well timed pauses and echos. The song “Trippin” is a good example of this.
If there’s one thing that really comes across with Philosopha’s jams, it is how casually upbeat they are. Not really a trace of anger or melancholy in the tone or the lyrics either. This is a guy who has it together and is making legit music. Just straightforward and chill throughout each jam.
The production on these tracks is smooth and professional, radio quality. There’s not much negative I could say about this although he has a strong voice and some of the electronic processing on it in certain parts seems unnecessary. My favorite track is probably “Used To” which has a strangely memorable phrase “chickens in my rearview” which conjurs up images of a guy driving through a farm on his way to hip hop stardom.
Archaeological excavator and rapper “P Digga” has a slick new jam out called “Grind Mode.” Part of the appeal to it is that some of the lyrics are kind of hard to understand. He has something of what I thought was a Caribbean/British accent, but he’s actually a US based Nigerian rapper. This made me want to listen to it multiple times to see if I could decipher parts of it, and each time I found some hidden nugget like “You can Kik me…You can Facebook me”(yeah he’s talking about the chat app “kik” i’m pretty sure.) This is big time club music, very well produced. Nothing shabby here at all. It actually reminds me of a lot of the rap/reggae stuff DJ David Orlando used to play at Dublin’s(long gone club) in West Hollywood in 1999/2000.
The song will be appearing in his upcoming EP “RIP OZO OMEIHE NZO,” an album title that looks like an old school Nintendo saved game code but probably means something important. I think out of all P Digga’s songs I prefer “Gyrate” as it’s incredibly catchy and has an entertaining video. Though the bizarre song “Homeless” is pretty unique. I’ve said it before, but it’s amazing how much more interesting these up and coming rappers are than the mainstream junk you hear on the radio, especially the foreign born rappers as they bring perspectives that don’t fall neatly into US rap cliches.
Aside from the fact that aliens from another star system could be millions of years more advanced and have space travel technology we are not evolved enough to even conceptualize, there’s something else to consider, and that is lifespan. If you compare a human’s life expectancy of about 75 years to an insect that may live only a few days or months, the lifespan of a human could be a fraction some alien creature’s exponentially longer life cycle. Therefore something that seems like a huge amount of time for us may be brief moment for some other life form. For example, what if their average lifespan is 250,000 years, or even a million years, whether due to advanced medical technology or simply different biology? Then the journey would not seem so long or unfathomable for them.
I have not seen any evidence that we have been visited(the stuff that passes for “proof” among UFO enthusiasts it mostly garbage,) so I’m not claiming that we have. However, based on what we KNOW about the wide variance in lifespans even within our own meager sampling of species on Earth, the length of time a voyage would take should not necessarily be considered a huge obstacle(for other lifeforms of course, as for us it’s a huge obstacle!)
Don’t you feel like you need a change sometimes? I definitely do, but that’s just the state of my life these days. “I Need a Change” is the title of what is probably the best song on Jay Jacobson’s upcoming album, “The Ride.” A big buff guy with an east coast look(he’s originally from Philadelphia) who writes somewhat thoughtful and sensitive songs, Jacobson’s style I would describe as being adult contemporary pop. It’s clean and well produced(is any music still poorly produced these days compared to when bands used to push record on a boom box and put out a cassette tape of the resulting recording?)
The main things I like about Jay’s jams are the orchestral backings and intros he utilizes in several songs. I notice this type of thing more and more on recordings. You think the song is going to go in one direction, and it turns out to be something completely different. The orchestral intros kind of remind me of 80’s film background music, like from a romantic chase scene or something. Whereas the actual songs are more contemporary pop, like you’d hear while shopping in Neiman Marcus or Nordstroms on a saturday afternoon. The whole album reminds me of soundtrack music to be honest. This stuff belongs in a love story starring Ryan Gosling and some girl. That’s not a bad thing either. There’s a lots of royalty money involved. None of this is surprising either when you look at Jay’s extensive background in theater and acting. According to his bio, he “graduated Magna Cum Laude from Temple University with a degree in Radio-TV-Film and a focus on film directing.”
I can’t really think of anything “bad” to say about this album except that the song titles could be more creative. Titles like “Maybe One Day” don’t really stand out and aren’t very memorable. That’s more of a creative marketing thing though and doesn’t really have anything to do with the actual music. This guy is a veteran professional musician who knows what he’s doing. His musical maturity and sincere approach should attract a wide variety of people to enjoy “The Ride,” which hits the shelves on October 14th.(currently available for pre-order on iTunes)
For those who were around 18(!) years ago when I released 4-track cassettes like”Birthday Boy,” “Outer Space” and “Rebel Without A Life”(which Oliver Hibert did a drawing of the PV Mall food court for the cover) that I used to unironically send to places like Seventeen Magazine and Sassy for review…. or even 10 years ago when I released that creatively pathetic excuse for an album, “Springtime In Paris,”(which for some reason got me a large feature in the print edition of the Phoenix New Times) I would urge you to consider this and my other new songs as some form of artistic redemption(samples, loops and all.) If not well that’s cool, too. I still have another 6 more songs coming out. Where did all the time go? What can we do with the time we’ve got left, those of us who can foresee inevitably bleak life outcomes in our not too distant future while simultaneously maintaining any youthful energy at all? Think about it. Livejournal styled narcissistic rant temporarily over -B.A.