Artist: J-ZoneTitle: A Job Ain’t Nuthin But WorkRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Max Herman
J-Zone has always been somewhat of a misfit in Hip-Hop’s underground and independent scene. Ideally the underground is supposed to be a safe haven for creativity, but elitist fans can be quick to dismiss brutally honest artists like J-Zone. As a misogynistic, foul-mouthed MC/producer who could care less about catering exclusively to backpackers, J is sure to keep pissing off both the ladies and rigid hip-hoppers with his amusing new album, A Job Ain’t Nuthin But Work (Old Maid Ent./Fat Beats).
While J-Zone may be too disrespectful for some, he should be commended for his ability to block out what everyone else in the industry is doing and just make Hip-Hop his way. On A Job Ain’t Nuthin But Work this includes clowning ball-playing rappers (“A Friendly Game of Basketball”), boasting about his ability to get women despite his looks (“Kill Pretty”) and professing his inability to hold his liquor (“Lightweight” remix). His lyrics may not be mind blowing, but his concepts are hilarious and well delivered at that. And J’s self-produced quirky loops and clean drum patterns rarely cease to impress. Beats like the booming, funk-drenched instrumental
behind “Spoiled Rotten” makes it obvious why everyone from Biz Markie to Vast Aire has enlisted J to produce for them.
Lyrically, no track reflects J-Zone’s reputation in the industry better than “Edit These,” a response to all the radio DJs who won’t play J’s records because of his excessive cussing. This cut simply proves how this uninhibited MC will conform to no one. As the song begins the curses are edited out, but after a brief phone conversation with a friend, J decides to forget about editing himself as he then reverses his rhymes and leaves only the curses in–and there’s plenty of them. Overkill? Maybe. But the point should be well taken by DJs who want him to clean up his act.
Five albums into his career, J-Zone realizes that he can only please the DJ’s and fans who will take him for what he is: an MC and beat conductor who’s not worried about who he could potentially offend. If you have bad hygiene, you’re a weave-wearing bald chick or a ball-playing rapper though, be warned; J’s got his lyrical crosshairs on you. Thankfully this uninhibited foul-mouth isn’t afraid to let loose on himself either (see “Kill Pretty” and the “Lightweight”). In heated times every Hip-Hop head can use a little humor among all the seriousness–let J-Zone be your relief.