J Ru Raps Like Saran on New Album XIV XXVIII

By Deuce

Those who are fans of rap—as distinguished from fans of rap music—will have a field day perusing through the most recent release from J Ru. His songs, all 14 of them on this album, consist of almost continuous rapping. Moreover, nearly every aspect of this project, XIV XXVIII, seems to be slanted to highlight those vocals.

For starters, they’re either outright hot on some occasions (such as on the jump off joint, “The Opener”) or mixed just slightly above the beat. Consequently, you’ll hear every syllable enunciated clearly, every pause and even some of his breaths, more so than you’ll hear certain facets of the tracks.

Plus, his song structure is straight ahead and to the point. Granted, almost all of these tunes begin with some form of a patented intro—typically a variation of the music on which he’s busts during the duration ditty—bereft of drums. On some cuts (check out “Undiscovered”) this part is accentuated by a smooth vocal sample in the classic vein of the soul samples Kanye West popularized a couple decades back. But after that money simply raps and raps and, you guessed it, raps some more.

To that end, his hooks are almost all shortened variations of his 16’s—though sometimes it almost certainly sounds like he’s busting out 24 or even 32 bar verses. But there’s little repetition in the choruses so that, upon first listen, it may be difficult to distinguish them from the verses.

Again, for the rap purists who check for the lyrics, the cadences, and the punch lines more so than they do the beats, all of these elements are an excellent means of zoning out with this emcee and his assorted thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. It puts him in the rare breed of rappers who make such albums with which one can zone to, Young Bleed perhaps being one of the most accomplished. Regardless, this is the type of album in which the rapping is front and center, as well as on the sides, up, and down.

The production ranges from Lucid Soundz to Black Lion Beatz, J Ru himself, DJ Pain 1, and a couple other producers. But there are scant guest vocalists, a minimum of melodies and outright singing, and a whole gang of rapping.

Depending on one’s taste of music and what one’s into, that could very well be the recipe for success.

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