Raheem Jamal: Boombox

Remember those days when chillin’ in the park and vibing to music was all you lived for? Boston-native, Raheem Jamal brings everyone back to those laid back summer days with feel good music blasting from his Boombox (Brick/Traffic). Jamal’s lyricism fills Boombox with all the essentials: women, love, money, weed and social change.As Jamal brings the generally positive lyrics, producer Raydar Ellis manages to switch up the sound using heavy beats mixed with guitars and horns. On “High Energy,” Ellis counterpoints Jamal’s quick flow with subtle horns that creates a smooth groove. The following single, “Right Now,” changes the pace immediately with an upbeat heavy bounce. Together, Jamal and Ellis back each other perfectly though each track on Boombox.Beyond the 90’s house-party feel, Jamal spits about the desires of men, the evils that bring them down, and the current world of turmoil. On “When” and “When? Part 2,” Jamal attempts to find solace in a time of war as he hopes for change: “This may sound crazy but if there's a mothership/Consider this an S.O.S/Please beam me out of this.” On “Act Right,” Jamal protects the reputation of his art form as he works towards change. “Turn on the radio the suckers all sounds the same/What am I supposed to do, just walk away, say fuck it, hope that it all change/If I want change, then I gotta be the change.”Boombox also tells the story of love and loss in every relationship. On “Women, Weed and Washingtons,” Jamal explores three of the strongest forces in a man’s life. Jamal then gets busy with the ladies as he plays the field on “Not The One.” But it’s on “Never Be Afraid” where he finally finds “the one” and struggles to keep it together.Jamal’s Boombox is an amazing collection of songs that tell the story of one man trying to make it through life one day at a time. The one artist-one producer combination makes Boombox a record for the masses without the fluff and hype of having a commercial value. Ellis’ low-key production is a perfect balance to Jamal’s insightful lyrics—neither one outshines the other.