J-Zone - A Job Ain't Nuthin' But Work

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While many narrow-minded, elitist indy kids have claimed J-Zone's career has been a steady digression, I will certainly argue that progression has been the name of his game. His production has improved and diversified all while maintaining his unmistakable signature, and his lyrics...well, his lyrics probably have digressed. The Zone is more ignorant and offensive as Captain Back$lap's pimp hand is grown much stronger. But hey, the ruder the better if you ask me so I'll take devolution. Most importantly, J has improved ten fold as an emcee over the years. By his own admission he has become comfortable behind the mic, and it shows.

Zone's albums are always really easy to figure out, because you can take one line from a song and know the concept of that song instantly. The man knows how to stick to a topic. Witness, he clowns celebrity ballers and rapping ballers alike on "A Friendly Game of Basketball" ("Bow Wow's got game but he's 5 foot 3/nice crossover dog, try that jive on me/might need a little back up to hang with me/fuck that, two one one, call Jermaine Dupri"); bald girls get a waxing on "Baldylocks" ("She went from Alicia Keys to Sinead O'Connor/then I got soft when I had flashbacks of Onyx"); he gives hygiene advice on "Xactly" ("keep tics tacs if you a loud mouth bitch/and don't forget to use soap before you roll out the crib"); his love and mostly hate relationship for his hometown is detailed on "Bullshit City" ("you livin in this city you'll be dealing with some wack bitch/paying high taxes or out stuck in traffic"); his refusal to dance at clubs is given great reason on the hilarious "Disco Ho" ("flashbacks of Soul Train/did the moonwalk, spin-move, then I felt a slow pain/I went into the splits and shit/then tried to do the hustle/but I pulled my groin muscle"); and his insincerity is well documented on "Oops (I'm Sorry Bitch)" ("Grandma I'm a bastard, dag/I didn't know those were your dentures in that plastic bag/I thought it was garbage, for the trash can/my bad, now you're looking like Ms. Pac Man"). It isn't all Zone pointing out the short-comings of others though, he has no problem turning the insults to himself. Whether it be his inability to drink ("Lightweight RMX"), or being less than handsome ("Kill Pretty"). Oh, and word to Main Source, Tim Dog and MC Eiht, those who know, know.

Never one to let his critics get the upper hand, Zone sends a message to the radio DJ's who demand clean edits of his music with "Edit This." After appearing to comply with a dubbed first verse, Zone changes his mind for the second verse and edits everything BUT the curses. Point taken. He also plays his own critic on "The Zone Report," an honest dissection of his own career to date. Of course, this wouldn't be a Zone album without the beats, and they are here in droves. The beats on "Spoiled Rotten" and "Greater Later" are as good as their guest appearances (Celph-Titled and Devin The Dude respectively). "Disco Ho" is as ready for the clubs (and better), than 99% of the shit you hear on the radio these days. The Zone can do it all.

Fuck what the haters say, J-Zone is one of the best producers and most entertaining emcees in the game, underground or overground. His crass attitude may not be for all comers, but provided you don't mind some cursing and insults that may or may not apply to you...then don't miss another great album from J-Zone.

8/10

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