Emcee's Properganda

Artist: JinTitle: Emcee's PropergandaRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Robert Longfellow

The Emcee...ahem...Jin can’t win for losing. In a matter of months we’ve seen the Asian rap superhero throw in the white flag with an early retirement, get knocked the fugg out at a Fight Klub battle and reclaim his freestyle battle crown, technically, at the recent Power Summit in the Bahamas. The source of Jin’s recent stumbles, at least in the eyes of his supporters, detractors and those oblivious, is rather obvious. His debut album, The Rest is History, was wack. Licking his wounds, his latest independent endeavor, Emcee’s Properganda (Draft/Craft Plugz), is everything his proper debut wasn’t, slicker lyrics over knocking instrumentation. Senorita be damned.

Everyone’s favorite rapper can spit. The deciding factor is weather beat accompaniment helps him merits return listens. Jin calls beats the “Fifth element” on “G.O.L.D.E.N.” On Properganda new jack producer Golden provides all the tracks and proves to be Jin’s lifeline. On “Top 5” Jin rides (pause) a hollow vocal lift snuggled by shuffling drum kicks and avoids controversy by name checking a gang of his favorite rappers, “Scarface ya minds playing tricks and illusions, Pharaoh Monche out to organize the confusion, trying to figure out this fly chick I discovered, at the same time Common said he used to say he love her, Buckshot with his camp click laced up his boots, big up to Black Thought, never forgot his Roots.” On “Mr. Popular” he successfully adjusts the battle raps into a smooth song structure over thumping percussion and subtle keys. The only real suspect cut is “Carpe Diem” which suffers from a listless sitar that runs through the track. On the much too short “My First Time” he gets conceptual, recounting the first time he popped his cherry (pause), and wrote his first rhyme.

Jin’s rhyme book is thick but and he used it to let you know he’s still bitter at rap’s largesse (“Perspectives”, “Properganda”), wants women to respect themselves (“Foolish Little Girl”) and wishes there were less wannabes (“No More Fans”). The stock angry rapper purist peeved at a jacked up Hip-Hop aesthetic is tiresome, though not without merit. But Jin has tried to refine his approach and make it easier to swallow (pause). However, since his fan base would be in agreement-forgive the forthcoming cliché-he’s preaching to the choir. Then again that glorified coaster that was his freshman flop makes him need to endear himself to as many kindred, lyrical loving, and CD buying spirits as he can. After all, it isn’t propaganda that battle money only lasts so long.