Saturday, March 12, 2011

Emcee of the Month: Jean Grae

I'm excited I have an opportunity this month to discuss and highlight an artist whose work I've checked out before now. This is a track of off Jean's 2008 album Jeanius. Titled "The Time is Now", the production is handled by 9th Wonder with Phonte of Little Brother making a fantastic guest appearance.

This is my favorite jawn (Philly word!) on the Jeanius album, primarily because it exhibits Jean's sense of humor and spontaneity. Her verse on this track harnesses an energy that feels much more like free association or stream of consciousness than the more meditative lyrics she offers in other moments on the LP. But the verse doesn't seem sloppy or misshapen in any way. As the listener I'm able to follow the progression of her thoughts easily and clearly, even though the imagery makes significant shifts at times. Jean is very good at finding a balance in her writing that suggests an illusion of performing the verse for the first time while guiding us on a journey with her through the exploration of the text. And judging from the ad-libs that open and close the song, it's evident she's having a ton-o-fun.

Also, she's kickin' with the home state boys, Phonte and 9th Wonder (NC!). I'm always down with that!


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