A strong review of Naija albums
GENRE: Hip Hop
LABEL: Chocolate City
Year of release: 2010
Jesse Garba Abaga aka Jesse Jagz has lent his top-notch production to nearly every 9ja artist – from his brother, MI to Majek Fashek and for the better part of this new decade, his musical stamp will definitely be used more than NIPOST stamps on different genres of music posted on blogs. Although Mr Jagz had taken to the mic a number of times before his album dropped, he still did not have the same level of mastery he enjoys when behind the boards, at least not @ par with a certain producer-on-the-mic from the Trybe Records.
The 2010 Producer of the Year @ the Future Awards then decided to take a dig @ conquering the curse of most Producers releasing underperforming albums (Terry G, N.E.R.D, Babyface, Sam Klef, ID Cabasa, J Martins) with his debut album – ‘Jag of all Tradez’ and boy are we in for a musical rollercoaster.
The 18 tracker starts with the “Take over” where Supernova Jesse Jagz ensures that the great Fela lives on (Oct 15, 1938 – Aug 2, 1997) and incorporates a little Afro beat into pure Hip-Hop as he announces it’s his time to reign. With the lines ‘M.I was the lightning/ I am the thunder & Ice prince is the rain’, he introduces the 2009 Winner of the Hennessy Artistry competition and label-mate Ice Prince on this who goes ahead to actually takeover the track from Mr Jagz with some of the best lines I’ve heard this year – ‘…I’m @ da base soldier/ I’m in my twenties but I really sound way older / I straight roc fellas, they call me Jay-Hovah / .. u think say we come Lagos to count bridge / I don burst tire so tey my mouth bleed’ I can see u all head-banging to this track while taking a drive.
The massive and pop-influenced single “Pump it up” is definitely one for the clubs as DJs will pump it up on their sound systems to make your ears pop as you listen and mime ‘The way u dancing ma, u got me whoa ho o’. It’s a track guaranteed to get you romping on the dance floors. Jagz then produces from his bag of tricks, Soul E Baba (who?) from the thin air to feature alongside with Whizkid on “Intoxicated” which has a fast kick in the beats but still falls short as Soul E Baba’s slow verse doesn’t do it for me. Whizkid as usual comes correct on the track. This track has refused to grow on me.
This is quite the opposite with the Dus Numbri influenced “Jargo”, featuring his alter-ego Jago on which he brilliantly mixes English, Hausa & a language (gibberish) similar to Hindu together. Love the cut so much and I don’t even understand half of what he says on it. The reggae like “Number One” sounds out of place on the album as it is a below par track for 2010. In 1995, yes!
Jesse Jagz jacks the style of his foreign colleague – Kanye West (btw he’s now on twitter as kanyewest) to drop 32 shamelessly self promoting & boastful bars on the surprising aesthetic “Greatest”. The track is laced with an almost non-existent, soft female voice singing in the background as Jagz goes hard with lines like ‘Y’all know who the greatest is/ turn on the radio, hear me o, know what the latest is/ God knows I was saved for this/I can’t go against nature I was made for this…’; he kinda challenges for the rap icon status achieved by his older bro. For the 1st time on the album, he sticks to the same pattern as he continues his braggadocios-ness on “Jesse Swag” with cocky punch-lines ‘So much swag I carry it in a bag/from J town to ABJ, from ABJ to Lag/…these are the words from J Jag Abaga/…I’m so fly that my name rhymes with Swagger that u either luv or hate this track. The hook is kinda addictive and reminds me of the kiddies’ program ‘Great Space Coaster’ (?). Not really feeling this one though.
There’s a throwback feel to the Afro Juju/High Life/RnB infused “Sugar Cane Baby”. The much laid back delivery and smooth production shows us just how diverse & abstract Jagz can get. This is a cut that should win over the Motherlan’ fans along with the Aunties and Uncles. In “Dis Jagged Life”, Jagz offers listeners the most personal song on the album. The track sounds like a track from Eminem’s ‘8 mile soundtrack’ and features soulful Lindsey (who I’m surprised hasn’t done much in the industry since featuring on MI’s “Jehovah”). It is a song about him that everyone can relate to because the message behind it is that ‘In this Jagged Life, no one can love you more than YOU (Apart from God)’
Munachi’s delivery adds some freshness to “Do you want the chocolate? I want the chocolate”. We hope to hear more from her soon. “My Brother” is classic hip-hop; Jesse sounds like Lupe Fiasco (anuver Kanye prodigy) rapping a cut written for Common. Liking the track and the message it brings; btw Ene on the hook was mad! I’m in luv with “Luv U” especially Brymo’s delivery.
The heavily circulated lead single “Wetin Dey” is a smooth and infectious dance groove which pays homage to the club scene and the beats are straight from Jargo land. Love his flow & rhymes on this. Playing off the beat on “Inhale Out”, Mr Jagz’ is critical in delivery ‘How the hell you’re flashing with an unknown number/ I’m a call you back I’m not telepathic/ Hope you understand it’s simple mathematic’ and easily outshines Skales. “Shorty” & “Pu$$y Cat” are filler tracks @ best; the beats could have been sold for a premium to a Maga who wan pay.
“Bend Down Low” sees Jago experimenting with a Busta-like fast paced delivery on the 2nd verse over his feel good production. The curtain finally closes on this diverse but interesting album with my favourite track “Nobody Test Me” in which all the Choc Boiz represented for J-Town and 9ja as a whole.
Creative, Diverse, Unusual, Comprehensive, Surprising, Purposeful still yet Real. These are just some of the words that describe the ‘Jag of All Tradez’. The album is a mixture of beats and rhymes that exemplify where 9ja Hip-Hop should be today. The outcome is a very diverse album with each track having its moment to shine and yes he does better production than eMCeeing, but the album produces some of the most enticing tracks 9ja Hip-Hop has seen in 2010. The downside is that there aren’t enough standouts on the album to push Mr Jagz to become a polymath. By the way, he produces all the cuts on his album.
Outstanding Tracks: My Brother, Jargo, Takeover, Pump It Up, Jagged Life, Nobody Test Me
Disappointing Tracks: Number1, Intoxicated, Jesse Swag, Pu$$y Cat
VOCAL DROPS Rating System
OPINION (Personal): 7/10
SKIP FACTOR: 7/10
THE VERDICT: 7.5/10
Laying 18 tracks as if he was Chinese (Duh! Chinese are said to be the best railway engineers), the well established producer is far better than your average 9ja rapper. Sure he may not amaze you with complex wordplay and mind-warping punch-lines like his brother or even Mode 9ine and sure he’s heavily influenced by Kanye, he still provides that feel good music that is vital in today and the future’s landscape.
To me, I believe Jagz was experimenting on all genre of music – he raps, sings, heck even mumbles Indian and I think simply used his album as an advertisement medium – Bros I wan Apala beats? Do u have timbo-like production? Can u mix Afro Juju and Hip-Hop together?
Wiktionary defines Jack of All Trades as someone competent in many endeavors, especially one who excels in none of them (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/jack_of_all_trades); I define Jag of All Tradez as an album that has shown competency in all genres and has been exceptionally & diversely produced.
This album MAKES THE iPOD.
Download his latest single – Nobody Test Me and an extended play of Wetin Dey
Jesse Jagz - Wetin Dey(Extended Mix).mp3 (6.6 MiB, 2,626 hits)
Jesse Jagz ft MI & Ice Prince - Nobody Test Me.mp3 (3.8 MiB, 2,472 hits)