Artist: J.R. WriterTitle: History In The MakingRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Martin A. Berrios
Whether you hate or love them, you got to admit that The Diplomats are popping. Their hood anthems coupled with their flamboyant lifestyle have made them fans from the block to the burbs. Now that their starting line up of Cam’ron, Juelz Santana, and Jim Jones has already done their respective numbers, the movement moves on through J.R. Writer. Known for his heavy punchline game, the “Dominican Prince” gained a heavy buzz off his Writer’s Block mixtape series and impressive guest appearances. However, the title of his long overdue debut might be over ambitious as History In The Making (Koch) is just an average start for the writer of writers.
J.R. opens up strongly with the autobiographical “To Be A Diplomat”. The Harlem native discusses his come up before all the furs and eagle pendants over some laid back production. Knoxville chops up an appropriate sample that chants the crew name as Writer incorporates it in every couple of bars. On the album’s first single “Grill Em'”; J.R. hops on the I-95 and gets busy on a more Southern friendly tip. The Doe Boyz cook up bouncy synthesized keys over loud claps as he explains how to handle the haters: “See I be on my D-I-P/Cut you off while you dancing with that PYT/Grill the bartender cuz he want to see ID/And they won’t let you in that dam V.I.P. (grill em’).”
Writer keeps in line with Dipset’s musical motif of in house collaborations and standout beats. Hell Rell and everyone’s favorite kufi smacker show love on the “Goonies” and Killa steals the show with some jabs directed at President Carter on “Byrd Call”. Additionally, the J.U.S.T.I.C.E League incorporates speedy high hats and hard drums while Dame Grease crawls up under a rock and flips light congas for the playful “Zoolander”.
The album does suffer greatly from a lack of artistry as J.R. fails to show any true growth from his mixtape training grounds. Songs like “That’s A Bet” and “Take Notes” do not hold any weight with repetitive flows of colored diamonds and flipping packs. Furthermore the attempt at making a joint for the ladies goes cold on “Xtacy”. The young boy seems to lack that extra finesse to pull off something so out of his usual punchline zone.
At the end of the day, History In The Making is a decent first try. True Dipset fans will still embrace this offering for its street appeal. Considering how nice J.R. is though, it’s unfortunate that the kid couldn’t come with a more complete project. Maybe next time he’ll be able to get a nod in the history books.