Review Summary: Jim Jones' newest album is pretty good, surprisingly enough.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
For his third album, Jim Jones made what could be considered one of the most generic hip hop albums I’ve ever listened to, Hustler’s POME
. It was inconsistent in every way, lyrics varied from nice to bland to embarrassing, and the same thing went for the production, and what was left of the record was ruined by Dipset affiliate Max B, attempted RnB singer and rapper who simply put, sucked balls. His raspy whisper of a ‘voice’ ruined any street credibility that Jim Jones had. So yes, with the current beef between Jones and Max B, Pray IV Reign
is obviously better than any of Jimmy’s past efforts. Actually, sometimes it’s so surprising how good Pray IV Reign
gets, you are honestly wondering if you are listening to a Dipset oriented effort.
Jim Jones MCing efforts are still the weak point of the album. Lyrically, he’s generic as ever, resorting to every mainstream hip hop lyric writing style, all the while retaining the enjoyable but sometimes over-bearing and annoying ad-libs. However, Pray IV Reign
is still a gigantic improvement over Jim Jones’ past efforts, probably due to the opening tracks. “Rain” plays the role of Pray IV Reign
’s “Concrete Jungle”, a more inspired track addressed to his young son, but does so with a more soulful backing and helped by Jimmy’s new accomplice the Jay-Z sound-a-like NOE, who out Jay-Z’s on the particular track. And even on more street oriented tracks like “Pulling Me Back” and “Freienemies” are rapped with a more inspired flow and rejuvenated energy. In the many aggressive gangster rap songs, he shows us this new energy the most, particularly on “How to Be a Boss”, where his flow entangles the theatrical haunt.
“You couldn’t understand how much the pain weighs
So in the hood, we love a rainy day
Cuz subconsciously, we know the suns coming
we love the winter, cuz we know summers coming”
The lyrics for the song, while they aren’t great or even that good, show at least a bit of heart from Jim Jones, something that we have almost never seen from him (with the exception of course for the creatively and effectively named “Concrete Jungle” off his last album). But herein lays the problem. For every heavily inspired track on the album, there is a stereotypical club track, something that was completely overabundant on his last couple of releases. It’s to a lesser extent here, but it still pulls the album down heavily. “Medicine” is the worst example of this. While the murky, UFO-styled beat has potential for the song, it is easily ruined by Jim Jones lackluster deliver and laughable rapping from NOE (”She’s a rida bitch/a common prada bitch/my man saw her and said DAMN, that’s a lot a bitch”) and Chick Santana (I could quote anything he said and it would be hilarious). “Pop Champagne” too, although it is quite catchy, is extremely generic and boring other than Ron Browz hook, and even then, it’s a little irritating to hear yet ANOTHER person use the vocoder.
NOE is another major factor of the album, and frankly he helps the album a lot. Sure, he sounds like a big Jay-Z rip-off. Like the biggest Jay-Z rip-off ever to have live on the planet. Seriously, do you get the point, if you heard him, you’d mistake him for Jay-Z. But the major point is that he is WAY better than Jimmy’s last accomplice Max B. NOE’s quality control, however, is quite inconsistent. He’s got the ability to rap up to the quality of Jay-Z at certain points (“had to be a felon, hated being pauper/read the book of life/ and satin was the author.”), but he also can be a pain at points (“I got stickey right? /got this hickey right? /her thing is back shooter/then give her this sticky right”), and honestly, we are just seeing a whole lot of potential mixed with a whole lot of potential. I can’t give him flow points, because, well, it sounds like Jay-Z. But I can give him points because sometimes when Jimmy Jones falls back on his lyrical part, he picks up the slack.
But from all these lackluster performances, the true positive shines; the production is consistently awesome throughout nearly every track of the album (with the exception of the mediocre club bang of “Pop Champagne”). Particular highlights include “Album Intro”, a track that takes note from the theatrical production style of Luda’s newest, and sounds much like music straight out of a 70s cop flick, and the organ/rock n roll assault of “Freienemies”, but frankly the entire album is filled with great tracks production wise. Even tracks assaulted by embarrassing rhymes and laughable vocals, the production style shines, particularly “Medicine”, which takes a bit of note from “Phone Home”, but mixes in a bit of murkiness for good measure. However, there are exceptions to this rule. I already mentioned “Pop Champagne”, but “Na Na Nana Na Na” as well is rather mediocre compared to the other tracks, complete with the generic over-use of synthesizers in an attempt to remake “We Fly High” (heck, they even got a girl to sing the second half of the chorus!).
Throughout this review, I’ve been a bit more negative than I should be. Although at times inconsistent in quality,Pray IV Reign
is easily Jim Jones’s best album, and the best album Dipset has put out in a LONG while. Just don’t expect anything great lyrically except for a few lines from NOE, Ludacris, Juelz Santana, and occasionally Jim Jones himself (if only for the emotional value.)
“How to Be a Boss”