J-Live
The Hear After
Penalty/Ryko
With impeccable timing, the respected Brooklyn rapper makes a record with enough in the grooves to help one ignore the antics of the game’s feuding millionaires. On The Hear After, the music boasts a bounce likely to linger long after you’ve gleaned what the fellow is on about. Like he says: “I was new-school late, I’ll be old-school early.” All elements, from blips and thunder to dodgy piano to Afro-Cuban shuffle, emerge greater than the sum of their parts. As tough as he roars on “The Sidewalks,” it’s mainly about love of home, New York. The virtues and failings of a ghetto school are more richly detailed in “Brooklyn Public Part 1” than a fat report could dream of doing. J-Live opens up his life, with little posing and much percolation of syncopation.
—Doug Taylor

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