When it comes to the creation of music there are artists who debut with an immense amount of buzz right out the gate and are immediately given high praise. In contrast there are also those artists whose introduction to the game is more subtle, perhaps even overlooked, only to steadily develop and grow into their own as time passes. As an artist who began his career being perceived as more a mascot or a hype man, Jim Jones has certainly fallen into the category of the later. Having put in the work over the years Jones has gradually won over many of his most staunch critics and the respect of his peers. Jim’s 7 th album “El Capo” is a testament to that very dedication towards that musical growth. Teaming up with producers the Heatmakerz, he has managed to craft an album that certainly has a sound that is raising the brow of even the strongest of his detractors.
The album opens with “Cristal Occasions”. Here Jim goes in, describing what he has overcome coming up in Harlem, while celebrating his triumphs in the rap game. “Love of the Hustle” featuring Trav on the hook hits hard while offering up a relaxing vibe to the listener’s ear. The Heatmakerz deliver on this track with a beat laced with drums reminiscent of those played by indigenous tribes. Trav’s vocals also compliment the beat well as Jim flows with a comfort of a musician who has found his groove. “Make No Issues of It” picks up the pace a bit as Jones gets a little more aggressive, flexing his more braggadocios side. “NYC” featuring Fat Joe is an ode to the city both emcees call home. Jones and Joey crack both deliver solid verses over a dope beat sampling The Chainsmokers song “New York City”. From there we move into “The Good Die Young” feat. Marc Scibilia where Jones pays tribute to those who passed too soon. Scibilia again makes an appearance on “State of the Union” which also features Rick Ross. Both Ross and Jones spit reflective verses but their attempt at a conscious track falls short of coming off as sincere as neither emcee is known for addressing thought provoking issues and it really shows here. “Pity in the Summer” feat. Cam’ron, Rain, Fred the Godson, and Marc Scibilia has a very laid-back feel with each emcee putting on a strong performance. However, it is Cam’ron who steals the show on this one, making his delivery sound effortless. My Era feat. Maino and Drama is a solid joint as well with each emcee delivering a solid performance over a soulful sample. “Nothing Lasts” feat. Fabulous samples Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”. Jims verse is respectable enough but the real star of this track is Fabulous as he flows seamlessly over the beat, delivering an outstanding verse.
Going into the second half of the album we are served up with “Cocaine Dreaming” feat. Ball Greezy and Dave East. While Ball Greezy delivers on a dope hook, Jones and East spit verses that have us picturing the lavish style of a drug kingpin. From there “Momma I Made It” reunites Jim with his Dipset brethren Cam’ron for the second time on this album. Jones holds his own on the track while Cam’ron reminds us that after all these years he still possess the ability to entertain with his witty wordplay. “To Whom it May Concern” is a posse cut feat. Cam’ron, Guordan banks, Benny the Butcher and Conway the Machine. The pairing of both Dipset and Griselda emcees as all parties involved flexing their skills while Banks ties the track together with a very soulful hook. From there we transition into “Sports Cars” feat. Curren$y. This track would not be any different from any other of Jones’ materialistic and braggadocios raps if not for the contribution offered up on the track by Curren$y who provides Jones with one of his more potent verses. Sound Boxing is a relatively short track that has Jones going in on the beat for about a minute while “Bread Right” feat. Trav is an attempt at a smooth joint. Rapping over a beat sampling Diana Ross’ “Missing You” Jones raps about being away trying to accumulate his cash flow promising to make time to spend some personal time with his love interest. One of the few tracks on the album that strays from his normal subject matter this song provides as a nice change of pace for the listener. The album closes out with “Don’t Know What They Took Him For” feat. Jadakiss and Philthy Rich. With another soulful backdrop provided by the Heatmakerz, all three emcees trade verses with Kiss dropping arguably one of the best verses on the project.
With El Capo Jim Jones continues to add to his consistent catalog while showing us that he has indeed improved his pen game as well his ability to select production that compliments his style as well as the guests he chose to include on this project. If there any drawback to this album it would be Jones lack of departing from his usual subject matter along with its excessive number of featured guests. While this does not take away from the overall feel of the album it prevents Jones from breaking even more ground with it. The Heatmakerz do a phenomenal job handling the production of the album, providing Jones with some of their best work to date while capturing the essence of that raw New York sound coupled with a modernized feel. The album is well put together and flows cohesively, almost giving off the feel of a well-produced motion film soundtrack. Overall, with “El Capo”, Jim has delivered an album that is sure to satisfy his core fan base while winning over some of his most staunch haters in the process.
Contributing Author: Weapon X
Album Highlights: “NYC” “Good Die Young” “Pity in the Summer” “Cocaine Dreamin”
P.S. Touchstone Rating: Masterpiece
- Worthy of Merit
- Work of Art
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