featured REVIEW

Dag Savage (Exile & Johaz) E & J Dirty Science • 2014

Johaz is what we call 'an underrated emcee'. With his steady flow, nasal voice and juicy West Coast accent -go ahead and compare him with Medaphoar- the San Diego emcee earned his first stripes with the group Deep Rooted, but still hasn't appeared in your fav top ten rappers list lately.

Rightfully, L.A. producer Exile -who always had an eye for talented emcees- took him under his wings for the Dag Savage project. E's kicking drums and melodic samples are a great backdrop for Johaz' venomous but passionate style.

'Now that Exile is my DJ, a lot of expectations', knows Johaz. Expectations that were furthermore fed by the EP and many E&J songs that preceded the actual album's release. With this collabo, 'Haz follows the footsteps of Blu, who released two albums with Exile.

The record does live up to its expectations. With his heart on his tongue and his soul on his sleeves, he raps very openly about his upbringing, Cali life (not to be confused with Hollywood life) and love ('You're beautiful as Basquiat's art').

In 'Twilight' the San Diego emcee touches on the black man's struggle and challenges the powers that be: 'Wanna talk about a revolution? First of all let's talk Tookie and his execution. Let's talk 400 years without no retribution'. Together with West Coast colleagues Fashawn, Medaphoar, Blu, Coss, Choosey, and even Ras Kass, he depicts a sober image of Californian street life. While on the last part of the record, Johaz mellows up and raps about women, just as passionate as he opposes injustice.

And Exile? He brings his trademark chopped-up production: soulful, warm basslines, eerie samples and firm kicks. But also experiments; the schizo composition that is called 'Beat Trip' for instance.

We expected a firm album, hence both artists fortes and the quality of the E&J singles and video's that were already released. But still both West Coast manage to surprise us. Their first full length is a winning combination, more cohesive than a compil of formerly released singles. The beats carry an Exile stamp but never sound the same, while Johaz stars with heartfelt lyrics and a seemingly neverending passionata. Both musicians have it good with each other. Johaz seems launched.

POSTED ON 02|17|2014 by cpf

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