Oh man, this album is freaking awesome! Maybe it's just the old guy in me, but J-Zone's Fish-N-Grits hits the jaded hip hop fan funny bone just right. The veteran Queens rapper and producer lays out the generational split in rap, those that love the "golden era" and the young kids that love to clown on it. He takes no sides and seems to hate all of it. Throughout the album he bemoans the current state of the genre, but he's just as hilarious as he is angry. First appearing in 1999, J-Zone tried out a real world job in 2009 but eventually returned to rap with 2013's Peter Pan Syndrome. Since then he's been rapping and producing, playing drums and bass and keyboards on his own records, sharing much of it on his Bandcamp and occasionally pressing up records. The songs on Fish-N-Grits came out of a series of 7" releases and they are filled with J-Zone's jilted take on the world of rap. His productions might recall a bit of Edan's work, a bit psychedelic with the drums way out in front. The instrumentals that wind their way throughout the album are intricately constructed breakbeat funk masterpieces. They're all that more impressive knowing that J-Zone recorded the drum and bass parts himself, and then chopped them up. Ultimately the rhymes and beats that make up Fish-N-Grits come from someone that loves rap too much to see what it has become and just stand on the sidelines. And they come from someone who's got a ton of knowledge and just happens to be both funny and really good at making beats. Recommended.
- music label: Redefinition Records 2016