written by Carter Theis
As a fan of “real” hip hop, I should be flogged in front of the whole crew for not reviewing this album sooner. But as some of you may know, I’m in charge of all the videos for Enoch so my time is quite limited. Be that as it may, I’ve had the gem in my itunes for 2 months now, and literally each song on this album is phenomenal. Rocksteady by Jupiter 7 is everything someone like me is looking for in a Hip hop record.
Released in ’09, this album comes from the San Francisco, Bay area. The beats are solid. They incorporate all the fundamentals that made hip hop not just a sound but a culture: Horns, heavy brass accompaniments, full drum samples w tone, funky bass riffs, vintage keyboards, classic breakbeats and yes, even harps. A lot of hip hop today ends up sounding like a beat that someone “emcees” over, but this album is different. Rocksteady‘s beats and the rhymes equally respect each other, working to back up the lyrical flow. Nothing lags on the album and more importantly, nothing is rushed.
The track “Dedicated” is one of my favorites. It sounds like a heavy Beastie Boy beat mixed with a powerful Pharoahe Monch style brass melody. “Cops and Robbers” is another song that immediately caught my attention. It’s heavy bass line and hard crashing cymbals, aligns beautifully with it’s anthem-style chorus. “Move,” which is the video I’ve included below, is a faster, b-boy style joint. “Jive Talk” is the song that has the Harp samples in it, but it soon drops in with a breakbeat / raspy flute combo. Although completely different, this song is just as good and reminds me of Beastie Boy’s famous track “Flute Loop.” In “Get Down,” J7 overlays bossa nova, with a heavy rock drum beat. Then a amplified fuzz bass guitar and a backup woman’s vocal kicks in during the anthem chorus. Rocksteady reminds me of Dj Hurricane and what he was doing back in the day with all the best Beastie Boy albums.
This record pays careful attention to production, rendering each song to have a fully finished sound. In my opinion,this is something that doesn’t even happen with today’s so-called hip hop majors. However, due to my schedule and that fact that I only got a digital copy of this album emailed to me, I don’t know much about the artist Jupiter 7. According to mutual friends in Oakland, J7 is a Christian. His lyrics are smart and entertaining. He’ll gives props to the Creator(which I always love if it’s dont well), but no matter what topic he covers,his words deliver the voice of hip hop’s true culture. There’s even a track that scratches an old Bible story record in the “DJ Interlude” track. This is an album by a hip hop artist who loves God, not an album by an artist that loves God through hip hop….understand the difference? Jupiter’s actual voice sounds like a mix between Mos def House of Pain’s Everlast, which, how could I not love? I also enjoy his tendency to vary his vocal tone as he rhymes. The rhythmic dictation of J7’s flow also reminds me of Nas and Rakim. I feel like I can’t end this review properly unless I talk about each song in depth, but I gotta go to bed.
Album is for sale on itunes or HERE at Sphereofhiphop.com»
You can DOWNLOAD the track “MOVE” HERE»