Release Date: 2 June 2017
Label: Carr Club Music
Length: 41 Minutes
Written by Jabir McMillian
It’s very rare I get introduced to an underground cat that I don’t have any inkling about his works. Not to say that to deliver any type of insult, because there’s tons of legends who got their big breaks from eating in the shadows (Nas, Kendrick, Snoop, etc). All it takes is making the quality works and meeting the right person. After getting asked to check this artist out and receiving the exclusive opportunity to review his project, I asked myself, “Could I be one of the first to witness the birth of a legend?” Well brehs, I guess you’ll get to find out along with me. Shoutouts to Carr Club and James’s people for the opportunity.
The Ruler is Back – Pretty chill opener. It gives a good vibe topically of what you’re getting going forward. “I been lost in the deep end, aint nobody bringing me back, I done made it out, riddle me that.” This isn’t a track that’s gonna scream bars at you, but if you do enough listening, you’ll find a couple quotables you can rock with. I read dude used to be a producer, which is noticeable in his ear for beats. Rate: 6/10
Point Guard – Beat starts off a little less grand than the intro, seems like an intentionally stripped down beat to emphasize the man’s flow. He really does ride it quite well here. I rock with the hook here, probably my favourite from the entire joint. Single-worthy type joint if he really wanted to push one of these songs. Rate: 8/10.
Big Biz – Another likeable hook, I didn’t find much else joy with this particular song. Production is really consistent to this point though, gotta give applause to that. I’d say this song is a necessary sacrifice as far as filler goes, you can’t just drop napalm track after track, you know? Rate: 4/10
Say That Then – Well here’s a trade-off I’ll make every time: probably the least catchy hook we’ve been given so far, but the flow hits code orange on this track. His best song from a pure rapping perspective thus far. “On a mission to be mentioned with the greatest ever,” such a quote does emphasize the hunger J.Carr exhibits along this ride. A theme you’ll come back to consistently. Rate: 7/5/10
Truth – Yo, did this joint sample “In The End” by Linkin Park? That’s a wild as fuck way to begin a song man, as someone who was raised on the last years of pre-Google censored YouTube, you would hear that song sampled on just about every Anime Music Video (AMV). I’m going to digress here though. As far as the rest of the track goes, there honestly isn’t much else to write home about. I guess you get the message about how the fella has been honest with himself and life from the jump, but I don’t know, I didn’t find much to write home about here. Rate: 5/10
God Body – I might have to rescind what I said about track 2, this joint’ll give you the best feeling of this talent of this fella J. Carr. Best one on the tape so far. Definitely gotta throw this one in the playlists. I really just am holding back going in-depth ‘cause you NEED to hear this to vibe with it. Rate: 8.5/10
Eat – I think this was a single they actually did push based on their website. I like it. Just over a minute, it’s a great ass appetizer. The voice inflection he uses, more gravely than his usual voice, it blends well with the pure grit of the instrumental. You really feel like you’re rising up along with the tempo of the track. Rate: 7/10
Cutlass – This song reminds me of the older South style, like some Three 6 Mafia shit. I can’t specifically think of which artist, but you can hear that this man is a student of the game. Being from Miami, Florida, I’m sure he knows all the major players in this region’s history & I’d like to know who influenced his cadence and inflections on certain parts. Other than that, solid beat, lyrics were nice, it comes together well here. Rate: 7/10
Precious Time – Think prime Blu on “Give Me My Flowers…”, that’s the immediate closest comparison I can give for this specific track. At least as far as the flow goes. I really like dude’s song composition. There aren’t too many tracks on this album that feel like a waste of time really. They’re directly to the point. Reminds me of Curren$y in that regard. It’s a quality not too many rappers prioritize these days. Rate: 7.5/10
What’s Up – One of the more introspective cuts off of this project. I’d say the chillest, closest to him delivering some of his feelings, type of song. Good change up after the past couple of heaters that we were given. Rate: 6.5/10
Soul on Ice – So this is your R&B blend type song, you get at least one every project. It isn’t too poppy and fits within the archetype built by the rest of the songs. Having these more emotional, relatable, tracks close out the project really makes it more memorable than riding the same formula to the end. As someone that routinely fades out towards the end of many a project (when casually listening), I like this structuring. I won’t call this song one of my favorites, but I understand the need. Rate: 5/10
Surface ft. D12 – Your first feature on the entire album, and you save it for the end? Interesting strategy. Here’s my complete break down of the song though: “When life gave me lemons, I slapped that bitch, and told it go back in the kitchen, and make me rich.” I didn’t really feel this track. Lyrically, it was probably one of the sounder on the entire project. I’d even say the D12 feature was appreciated. But it felt really hollow to me, first, second, and third listen. Maybe more bass would’ve been nice here, this track would’ve served well as a thumper. But with all that said, I didn’t rock with this joint until that lyric was birthed and showed to the world like Simba in Lion King. I’d just praise that lyric by itself if I could. Rate: 5/10
Last Time – We’ve reached the last track. Another jazzy production, that seems to be his signature sound by now. Couple references to major figures in the black community, Chuck D, Mr. Porter, & Mike Vick. Quite the trifecta if you were thinking about what they brought us lmao (I’m sorry if that was only funny to me bro). Anyway, it’s a nice closing track, when I think about breaking down the other songs into pieces to show what they did well, this song tries to emulate as much of those qualities as possible. Good closer. Rate: 7/10
You look at the ratings, you get the vibe that this is just simply another average project, but its “deeper than rap”. What you’re getting on this project isn’t as simple as just a man’s project. This comes off to me as something of a resume. J. Carr is sitting here and writing down his best qualities, what he does the best as a rapper. And when I look over said resume, I think of it as a guy who could find a respectable long-term niche in some level of hip-hop. Can I predict that he’ll be the next Kanye, producer-turned-rapper who always displayed immense talent every step along the way? No, I can’t, only the industry and the fans can determine that. But I will tell you this. If this is the foundation that he’s setting quality wise, the finished product should result in a very substantial housing arrangement as he establishes his home amongst some of the other late-blooming successes.
ALBUM RATING: 7.5/10
MACH FIVE will be out everywhere on 2 June 2017