Master Bait was the perfect choice to kick off this collection from Jimmy Carter, it introduces his sound and his style in a bright, bold, and relentlessly confident way. It also gets you feeling uplifted and energized from the offset – in a manner that isn’t found all too often in much of modern hip hop.
Jimmy Carter’s approach to hip hop is refreshingly nostalgic – those terms seem juxtaposed, but it’s the only real way to encapsulate the music. It seems like classic hip hop, the beats feel familiar, yet everything about it is new; a new sense of character and style to remind you of what hip hop can be when it’s crafted with skill and intent and personality.
Jealous follows the opener and redirects the mood quite distinctly. The beat is spacious and dark, experimentally and creatively fresh once again. Jimmy Carter’s wordplay and flow are always superb and often outstanding. This project captivates for the scene setting, the details, the realness, the swagger, the theatrics, the passion. Zee Lay showcases all of this under the guise of a lazy, alternative side to the artist. No matter the depth, whether heartfelt and thoughtful or simple and suggestive – the lyricism and performances throughout this playlist get you hanging on every word.
From Sus as Fuck through Strong Style, the minimalism (beat-wise) continues and Jimmy furthers that wordplay and that stream-of-consciousness style of expression that somehow hits the mark pretty perfectly and holds tight to your attention. Staff adds to all of this, you get to the occasional lyric that really makes you want to head back and re-capture all that came before. There’s ridiculousness to the extent that it seems strangely deep – it’s entertainment, and it makes you wonder. It’s also unlike anything else you’re likely to stumble upon right now.
Taking the lyrical strength to the max is Danny LaRu, a loud track – the music is intense and chaotic, toying with your head in itself. On top of this, Jimmy Carter pours relentless energy and wordplay into the mix; never pausing, never wavering. The lines and images appear so quickly, one on top of the other, so again – you feel like you need to listen once or twice more immediately after that first time; just to make sure you really heard what you thought you did. Carter paints a clear picture, in many instances one you won’t have visualized before. Between the music and the ideas, there’s consistently something brand new about all of this – making it feel completely unique and impressive.
WU. Gracias is a personal highlight form this project, along with the opening track. This one looks in depth at relationships and the differences between the single life and that shared with a significant other – dashes of sarcasm and appreciable honesty intertwine. Carter’s being an adult works brilliantly at this point within the manic energy of the whole album. Earth Full of Comedians Too Dick to do Stand-Up follows and makes for a totally unmissable moment that is refreshingly clever and quirky and lyrically impressive yet again.
James Bond was Too Emotional & Never Had a Plan B marks the penultimate track and reminds you at the final hurdle that there’s so much conceptual intelligence here. The longer tailed titles draw your attention in a way that a shorter one generally doesn’t. You’re intrigued from the offset, and as a result – you listen far more intently; to gather all of the details and get that picture as clear as possible in your head. As stated, one listen is far from enough. If you’re going to download a rap album this month, this should be it. (If you’re not – maybe you should.) Having this in the long term set-up means you’ll be stopped in your tracks at some new moment every time. You don’t get that with less lyrically dense, less imaginative collections.
Things round up with the dark and emotionally intense Everybody Tryna Be Everybody. Carter gets meaningful, angry even, touching on everything that’s wrong with society and cleverly balancing sarcasm and certainty. It brings things to an end on a strong note, the egotistical mother fucker comment lingers in your mind, and the quiet that follows feels fairly daunting after all that preceded it.
Jimmy isn’t an album to be slept on or simply let play in the backdrop. It works in that way, as great music often does, but it’s valuable to really appreciate that lyricism, energy, and cockiness, in depth. Well worth a download.