featured REVIEW

Jonwayne Rap Album One Stones Throw Records • 2013

Write down his name, because Jonwayne might be the up-and-coming rapper. After a bunch of releases -with the three cassettes on Stones Throw Records as highlights- the 23-year old American has come up with a long-awaited album. Weird, confusing and not anything close to real hip-hop music. But also quite brilliant.

‘Rap Album One’ is a record with big intentions. But at the same time no megalomaniac experiment à là Kanye West. It's a sample from the rapper’s deep well of ideas, probably located in a dark basement. DOOM is his obvious reference, although Jonwayne flows with a bigger diversity than on previous material.

Whoever's a fan of modern, commercial rappers, will be disappointed with this album. You won’t find a single drop or set of retarded snares with ADD on ‘Rap Album One’. Instead, we hear a great producer at work. His young age adds merit to these 11 tracks. At the same time, it’s a problem: the album’s strength is very much productional. Rhymes were obviously added later.

That doesn’t mean Jonwayne’s raps are bad. On the contrary: it's another reason why this album is so addictive in the first place. Also in a weird way, as a song like 'You Can Love Me When I'm Dead' is basically an exercise in absurdity. At the same time, this is quintessential Jonwayne. He combines weird themes with a talent to come up with peculiar one-liners, which he randomly drops onto the unconventional compositions consisting of minimalistic beats, weird voice samples and quite some piano loops as well. 'Reflection' being the most successful example of this approach. We even might consider that one an instant classic.

Keep in mind ‘Rap Album One’ is not really a hip-hop record. That's why we think it got the obvious title. Because Jonwayne perfectly knows he's a rapper-producer in the first place. Inventiveness always comes first in his approach, trying out different styles and ideas within the same record. But always keeping an eye out for subtlety and a very personal -unpredictable- touch.

Which is exactly what most modern rappers lack, often choosing the shortest path to big money instead of developing artistically. This makes Jonwayne fairly unique. It shouldn't surprise us, because that's why he's on Stones Throw and hangs out with Jeremiah Jae, amongst others.

A guy rapping about 'Sandals' and staying at least three steps ahead of the hipster crowd. We may have found a new hero for 2014.

(mp-h, Skylinereviews.com)

POSTED ON 11|04|2013 by cpf

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