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Album Review: J-Carter “Take Hip-Hop Back”

J - Carter “Take Hip-Hop Back”

  The Album title might lend itself to ostensibly bracing oneself for an onslaught of lyrical gripes with contemporary Hip-Hop music. Until, you open your app, recline the seat back, light up a sack, relax, plug in your aux cord, and right when the play button gets tapped... Ahhh! Get ready, let’s go!

New Jersey artist J-Carter accomplished an admirable feat this being his 3rd project in the year alone. Lyrically not fatigued laser sharp he crafts 38 tracks. Exercising his range that many tracks can be exhausting to ask any listener to endure. Surprisingly, J-Carter is a lyrical chameleon whose versatility and content makes it interesting enough. 

Still, with an elongated track list there’s bound to be some monotony. Giving a valiant effort J-Carter switches tempos so fluidly throughout the album. Opening with “Aint Trap Enough” 

Where he attempts to dispel the critics who consider his sound too old school. 

Then delves into “Are You Ready”  in which he states “Like an Indian giver I’m taking this back” for the quintessential Hip Hop head this resonates. Hip-Hop in it’s present state at times feels like it’s been hijacked, but we can’t positively identify the culprit because there’s so many people in the line up. Carter, equipped witty lyrics, a plethora of styles in his arsenal, and an array of concepts, is ready to take back the narrative while keeping the listener engaged. 

Some of the notable tracks include title track Take Hip-Hop Back, Hotness, Out The Door, Look What You’ve Done, and a few others I’ll get into. 

J-Carter displays his lyrical prowess with heavy laden content, and dexterous flows. Like “Frontin” which is a banger that commences with sinister groaning chords, overlaying filtered vocals, with sobering lyrics depicting a misguided individual making poor lifestyle choices. Trounced by grimacing drums this track is increasingly intriguing due to its delivery. You get the impression as if J-Carter is speaking to those closest to him, and at times even himself.

Considerably the best track “Keeps On Raining” is primed with a melodic soulful backdrop accompanied by a warm guitar lick. 

The captivating lyrics on the chorus evokes optimism and hope. A real standout track that’s infectious and alluring. 

Then followed by “Let It Go” which is sequenced perfectly in the same vein of self empowerment. The album trajectory can be identified at this point. You can start to hear the project really picking up, and shifting gears.  

“Take Hip Hop Back” alludes more to taking back control, and ownership of the culture, and is less of a time warp, nostalgia piece yearning for the good ole days. The messaging is clear and precise, regaining ownership of the culture is important. Being a gatekeeper, being a leader, being truthful and being stand up are reoccurring themes in this project. This album constantly negotiates between traditional rap and contemporary hip hop. J-Carter finds a balance. The main mantra alludes to us understanding the essence of Hip-Hop, and staying true to the culture by offering the real version of ourselves, and presenting the reality that surrounds us.