I normally don't post anything on Sundays, but I had to do this one!
One half of underground duo The Left, Detroit native Journalist 103 dropped his debut solo album on October 30th. I just heard about this today, and being that I liked The Left's album (2010's Gas Mask, a 4.5 star album) a lot, there was no question that I was going to check this one out. I mentioned this via Twitter as well, and he assured me I would love this one. Let's see how it holds up!
As you know, I really like it when an album starts off well, and we get that here, as "The Foundation" immediately sets the tone for the rest of the album. It's short, but effective. We head right into "Rockstarz", a hard hitting track featuring the traditional scratching in the hook. Key things like that are missing in hip hop today and it's always refreshing to hear. I really like the apply titled "Dreamer", along with the nod to Nas that ends each verse ("A lot of n***** scheamin, some real, some n***** frontin/ But I'm a big dreamer, so watch me come up with somethin). That's something I can relate to, always having something to think about. The momentum continues with "Arson", which is about as hard as they come, as 103 spits fire on this track. His storytelling comes into play here as well, with the easy to understand "Moving 2 Fast", giving the details about a particular woman he likes, and literally everything he does, he realizes he's moving too fast. Apparently he likes what he sees! "3AM" details off of the things he's seen at that time of night, nicely told too. Two of the strongest songs on the album deal with social-political topics, in the form of "United We Stand" and "The System", both songs are filled with thought provoking lyrics over tight production to match.
The production is VERY good on this album too, as names like ATG, Lex Luthorz, Monkodelic, and Apollo Brown bless 103 with a true underground sound. And speaking of Apollo Brown, not only is he behind "Where Is The Love" (which features Vstylez and a TIGHT verse by femcee Eternia), it's almost as if he's overseeing the production on this album, which you definitely tell on tracks like "3AM" and "United We Stand". And going back to the guests appearances, a respected list of names are found here. Saigon and Fashawn assist with "Hear Me", and all three MCs shine on the mic, an active Freeway does damage on the blazing "Danger", and apparent newcomer Stryfe delivers a very good verse on "Urban Legend".
Overall, this is an excellent, fast paced album from Journalist 103. A true underground sound, tight production, and of course the outstanding lyricism makes album a strong recommendation.
Rating- A solid 4 stars