Jeramiah Jay – Raw Money Raps
Upon its release, Jeremiah Jae’s Raw Money Raps – at 19 tracks long – caused a scream to wail through the streets of London. Memories of Nas’ latest lesson in how-to-fuck-up-a-potentially-dope-album with some senseless self-indulgence had been stirred. Yet, thankfully, akin to a toddler’s dummy, the wigged out dramatics of ‘Guns Go Off’ stemmed the nascent melodrama. And once the distorted drums and fuzzed up raps of ‘Greetings’ presented themselves, a tantrum had been firmly averted.
In fact, if nothing else, the latest release from Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder camp stands as one of 2012’s more involving full lengths. Avoiding woolly sonic abstractions, or tedious ‘let’s take it back to nineteen-ninety…’ proclamations, Raw Money Raps is a welcome tonic for rap’s more weary devotees. Throughout, the production is dense; disparate, kaleidoscopic sounds are continuously melted into one another, whilst the loops, barely confined, settle on rhythmic patterns with little respect for rap’s rulebook. Imbued with a constant, ethereal intricacy, nothing sits still for the duration of the LP.
Even so, rapper/producer Jeremiah Jae, while clearly looking to move Hip Hop forward, is no enemy of the raw immediacy which surely stands as its most precious sonic property. Lead single, ‘Money and Food’, with a syrupy synth loop nuzzled beneath Jae’s utterances on life’s most valued provisions, perhaps best captures the richly laden, yet buoyant Geist coursing its way through Raw Money Raps.
Still, it would be misleading to suggest the LP is brimming with floor-fillers – far from it – another consistent theme is perhaps an allegiance to the hazier strand of contemporary rap. Bar the opening salvo, the remaining tracks sit in a groove befitting movements no more strenuous than a meditative head-nod. To this end, ‘Ignorant Mask’ and ‘Tourist’ – armed with the requisite semblance of low-end bass and stuttered percussion– will be keeping necks supple for months to come.
On the rhyme front, Jae’s subtle vocals nestle snugly amidst his production’s hubris; evidently the advantage a rapper who makes his own beats can enjoy. Parallels with similarly languid lyricists A$AP Rocky and SpacGhostPurrp seem apt. Although, unlike the Harlemite’s clichéd content or the Miami native’s neon-lit menace, Jae’s rhymes sit within a more surreal continuum, smoothly flitting between real-life observations and dream-like intellections.
Ten tracks in, the fluttering chaos of ‘Wires’ succeeds as a befuddling interlude, before ‘Seasons’ and ‘False Eyes’ allow a lighter, more reflective mood to briefly settle over the proceedings. With Jae’s heavily reverbed vocals drifting seamlessly through a constantly evolving beat, the latter of these mellow asides is arguably the LP’s standout track. Revitalising the early intensity, ‘One Herb’ sees Jae paint a blunted vista over a gruff guitar loop, after which he jostles for our attention amongst some lo-fi sound bites in ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘Money’.
Closing the LP with a now familiar aura of delirium, the haunting atmospherics and sparkling guitars of ‘Hercules versus Commune’ precede a similarly ambiguous mixture of cartoonish drums and wind-swept strings in final track ‘Cable’. Jae’s fellow Chicagoan, the late Ray Bradbury oft repeated the dictum, “you’ve got to jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.” In the context of much of modern day Hip Hop’s timidity, with Raw Money Raps Jeremiah Jae is most certainly flying beneath the fray.