J-Carter is an independent artist with big dreams. Any artist who releases an album with 38 tracks cannot be thought of, as anything less than ambitious. “This time around the people will have no choice but to hear me,” says the New Jersey rapper himself. It’s also hard to deny liking his moments of lyrical and sonic intimacy on his third album release, aptly titled, “Take Hip-Hop Back”. More to the point than just likability is the trove of wonderful sounds and smooth flows on this recording. It’s one that that makes the rapper worthy of not just admiration but respect and consideration as a serious contender for rap accolades in front of and behind the microphone. A mixtape, this is not. This is a full-fledged statement.
Beyond just being loved and respected, though, J-Carter is the rare rapper who seems like he’s genuinely in it for the art and the craft, and not necessarily fame or money. The rapper’s almost conceptual leanings and semi-cinematic introductions, shows that he knows that behind his music is something bigger than hip hop. This is a collection of songs that range from somber to energetic. By proving to have an eclectic ear for tones and textures, he asserts himself as a serious performer who’s taken his praise for his previous album with the utmost seriousness.
In listening to tracks like “Fake Cats Fall Back”, “Go Hard At Em”, “Im On That Final” you get the sense that he’s actually expressing himself as opposed to merely regurgitating tired metaphors and clichéd premises. Good hip-hop needs self-analysis.
The garish self-aggrandizing that plagues most radio rap leaves little room for those willing to put themselves, their faith, and their lives under a microscope, which is what makes emcees like J-Carter so intriguing. He shares a conscious and spiritual sense of authorship, where he is willing to wear his heart on his sleeve. His passion is palpable on tracks like “Look What You Done”, “Nothing But The Best” and “Only God Can Love U”.
Over and above the lyrics, J-Carter’s flow, or the multiple guest appearances that add tons of spice to the proceedings, the thing that also does it for me in this album is the consistently catchy, soulful beats. And I’m talking about tracks like “Hoping For Better Dayz”, “It Keeps Raining” and “The One For Me”, but there are countless others with outstanding production.
J-Carter knows how to produce an album, he proves that here; but the beats aren’t the only thing that make this album great. J-Carter is a talented lyricist with an impressive flow, and most importantly he has a unique style. J-Carter is, in many ways, a humble rapper. And that’s an exclusive luxury in modern day hip-hop.
Unlike most rappers, he gives off an innocent vibe. Even in songs where he’s talking about banging bitches like “Stop The Flow”, he says it in a way that doesn’t make him sound like a complete tool.
Throughout this recording, it’s clear that J-Carter has created an album that strategically balances the complexity of 90s hip-hop while simultaneously adding the fun and simplicity of early 00s bangers. The title track, “Take Hip-Hop Back”, is a perfect example of J-Carter taking us back in time, with a slick jam he has created with a reminiscing 90s flow.
J-Carter is on a mission to grab the rap game from this strange period of ambient and electronic experimentation and pull it back to the glory era of the early 00s. Listen as he rolls out “Stop Comparing Me”, “The Society’s Dying” and “We Gotta Change It”. The album is true and real. And that is why I’m calling it a classic.
“Take Hip-Hop Back” is a soundly executed, enjoyable album. Pulling off 38 tracks and keeping the album intriguing from front to back can be an arduous task. The New Jersey rapper passes with flying colors, dropping some marvelous songs along the way.
The insight, the contrasts, and the thoughtfulness is awesome, all the way through. Despite this album’s length it never drags, feeling like an epic coming-of-age blockbuster. It’s huge, ambitious, and easily one of the best rap albums of this proportion. Pick up this album and immerse yourself not only in its impressive breadth, but also its almost unparalleled depth.
Lookout for the official release around about April 19!