Artist: Jim JonesTitle: Hustler's P.O.M.E.Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Maiya Norton
With street credibility, a distinguished Uptown swagger and a hit single in heavy rotation, Jim
Jones has little to prove. He will gladly take a
white tee or a thermal or a purple label. He will show up to an interview with red eyes disguised behind a "mean dark pair of shades." Not only does he have Harlemites behind him but the aforementioned "We Fly High" has been dubbed the New York Giants' pre-game anthem and the masses are throwing their arms in the air, ballin'. Don't call it a come back. Call it a come harder (pause). Jim Jones did. With a dash of diversity, a wider range of beats and some lyrical maturity Hustler's P.O.M.E. (Product of my Environment) (Koch) might prove this third album a charm.
Jim Jones strays from the sped up high pitch samples; long the Dipset camp's staple sound. Chink Santana is the track master behind most of the album with many bass heavy beats that go hand in hand with the fed-dodging, coke-cooking rhymes. Hustler's P.O.M.E. wouldn't be complete if Jones didn't spit some get money street lyrics on gritty tracks like "Bright Lights, Big City" and "Weatherman" featuring a witty verse from Lil Wayne. Cam'Ron makes a cocky (pause) cameo along with Juelz Santana on the synthesizer heavy, strip club-esque "Pin The Tail".
Naturally since Jones is a product of his environment he is going to tell his story through music. On "I Know" featuring Chink Santana, others tell their prison tales through little excerpts over a mellow 80s-inspired beat. A more reflective Jones takes us inside his struggles through thought-provoking verses. Jones didn't forget about the ladies. The raspy toned
rapper tells his version of Harlem's West Side Story as Rell lulls the chorus on "Don't Push Me Away."
"We Fly High" is no doubt the highlght but other tracks stand out as get drunk stupid fuel like "Pour Wax" and the southern flavored "Get It Poppin" featuring Jha Jha and Princess. Like any album in the current Hip-Hop climate Hustler's P.O.M.E. has a handful of unoriginal tracks you could just breeze through like "Don't Forget About Me." The endless hollering of "Ballin!" throughout seemingly every song will definitely wear on you. However, the nitpicky nuances are at a surprising minimum.
Mainstream success is a slow grind. The re-up isn't always instant like quick money. Sometimes creativity needs to marinate in the pot to bubble. It takes a different angle and tweaked sound coupled with the best aspects of previous efforts. Jones' album was carefully crafted to gain fan momentum beyond the five
boroughs, in a new league, literally.