Review: Jake One – White Van Music (2008)

Producer extraordinaire Jake One recently released his Rhymesayers and full on debut album, White Van Music this year, heavily anticipated due to his work with 50 Cent, Young Buck, and De La Soul. It’s a collective work featuring well over a dozen contributors both Rhymesayers (Slug and Brother Ali) and non-RSE (Busta Rhymes, Black Milk, Elzhi, and MF Doom). All in all, a good quote can sum it up: “We download for the taste test, cause we ain’t tryin’ to waste a paycheck.”

I bring it up ’cause this is the taste test of the current emcees laid over impressive beats. Whether or not you know who’s out there, wanna know, or don’t know-this album will introduce you in the best way possible. The aforementioned quote comes from Posdnous‘ and Slug‘s Oh Really, two emcees rhyming over a sparse, spaced and string-laced beats. Happening about a third into the 22 track album, it contrasts the first track featuring Black Milk and Nottz. Pulling guitars back into keys, all in the background and leaving the rhymes in the foreground.


Track 3: The Truth (feat. Freeway & Brother Ali)

Jake covers all the movements out there in hip hop, be it the more mainstream fare of Young Buck on Dead Wrong or the underground’s eclectic raps of MF Doom on Get ‘Er Done and Trap Door. The spotlight-stealing song lands upon Scared, a twisted telling of Blueprint‘s tale of a meeting with a mysterious woman. It’s purely enclosed, poignant and punctuated with comedy at the end. Aside from short interludes thrown in, it slips at times. Keak Da Sneak‘s Soil Raps seems a struggle with delivery after smooth delivery before him. Like that, there’s a few off peak moments, but none more as drastic.

White Van Music is as diverse as the crates he’s picking and choosing from, with more variety than the Ed Sullivan Show. If there’s individual enjoyed emcees, you may be better off picking those tracks off-but remember, you may miss out on others you’ve yet discovered.

Jake One
Official | MySpace | iTunes

Rating: 7.7/10

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