To Love A Hooker

Artist: J-ZoneTitle: To Love A HookerRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine

While many folks in the ’06 are in love with strippers, J-Zone’s affection goes to the ladies of the avenue. After producing for Akinyele, Cage, and R.A. the Rugged Man, the Queens gangsta rap aficionado crafted an interlude and instrumental tribute to the hooker in Pop culture. With beats ranging from the wah-wah Funk of the ’70s to the cocaine Versace stylings of the ’80s, To Love a Hooker (Old Maid) shows that J-Zone’s ear, like prostitution, is timeless.

Billed as a soundtrack to a flick that hasn’t even been made yet, To Love a Hooker features an organic storyline. When the plot’s not created by chopped up samples from Blaxploitation films and episodes of Hunter, it uses new characters, including one played by Sadat X— contributing to the deviance of the wayward woman. Like Prince Paul’s A Prince Among Thieves and Handsome Boy Modeling School projects, J-Zone really creates a world with its humorand characters, while making good use of the interlude. While the story may not be as clearly defined as Paul’s, it helps keep things interesting at a time when instrumental albums are often considered stagnant.

The sounds are dynamic. “Freak!” uses synthesizers and drums in a way that will make fans of MF Doom’s early production take notice. The title track however, brilliantly chops guitars against some synth in a way that’s all J-Zone’s own. The beat goes against becoming merely a hot loop, and pairs two guitars against each other playfully as vocal scratches remind the listener the real message. “Hoes Get the Money” is a bubbly beat that seamlessly weaves through interludes like a Steinski and Double Dee lesson. Although he’s working within perimeters, J-Zone’s musical abilities have surged ahead since Sick of Being Rich.

For a decade, J-Zone has been getting notice for his lyrical wit and penchant for macho gangsta raps. All the while, he’s been producing his own work and selling beats to his peers. To Love a Hooker combines these talents, as the producer creates a collage of interesting, very stylized music, and fills it with scratches, self-created characters, and skits that pull from the vision he’s used in his rhymes. Fans of E-40’s “Captain Save a Hoe” and Peaches’ “F**k the Pain Away” could come together to agree that To Love a Hooker plays til the heels fall off.

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