Jean Grae

Bootleg of the Bootleg EP

posted November 08, 2003 12:00:00 AM CST | 0 comments

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Most of today's prominent female rappers would be more suited to professions that involve $75 and a seedy motel room. What happened to the ladies with self-respect? Or skills for that matter? While Lil' Kim teaches thousands of young girls how to be whores, Jean Grae could be showing them how to succeed in a man's world without sacrificing their dignity. With last years "Attack of the Attacking Things" garnering her some major attention Jean signed with the fledging Babygrande and is just a step away from being categorized with MC Lyte, Queen Latifah and Roxannne Shante.

Offering up the "Bootleg of the Bootleg EP" as a bridge to her next full length effort, it proves once again beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jean is one of the most versatile emcees around; man or women. She can come incredibly raw while keeping her feminism firmly in place, she kicks a vicious metaphor-laced battle rap just as soon as she'll drop a jewel, and there doesn't seem to be beat and can't rip. Lead single "Hater's Anthem" is just a tirade of shit-talking over a nice bass guitar groove and a distant piano. Her aforementioned versatility is instantly thrust into the limelight as the next song ("Take Me") is a stunning plea to the heavens as Jean contemplates her fate.

Jean does more than hold her own beside the renowned Cannibal Ox on "Swing Blades." In fact, she might outshine them both with lines like this; "Another day with myself, another day without wealth/ there's got to be another way, I need help/ so I pray like I'm a Pentacostal-Sufi-Buddhist-Trik-Agnostic/ hoping one will hit its target/ take another sip of hypnotic and lay my head on the pillow and dream erotic scenes/ of killers spilling endless rounds and all of them shooting at me." Ms. Grae represents just as well the following song ("My Crew") as she expresses her disgust with the current state of hip-hop. Content aside, Jean is her most fluid over this silky vocal sample-fueled beat

The only downside to this album is its brevity, at only 6 tracks it is over as quick as it started. The bonus track, a 45 minute megamix featuring freestyles and some guest spots, is a nice addition though. If for anything other than hearing her lace DITC's "Day One," she should have been put on the original posse cut with that performance. If the only Jean Grae you are familiar with can move shit with her mind, but down the comic and pick up this CD. The best female doing it today and she will get her due eventually.

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