The 90s, IMO, were a terrific decade for music in general. Lots of memorable acts hit the national spotlight, helping define the Millennial cohort that was being raised in an ever-changing world. For hip-hop, the East versus West feud was in full swing. Many careers were started, such as Jay-Z, and some others ended (the late 2Pac and Biggie Smalls). Though J'Demul was just a toddler, this decade of music left an inseparable imprint on the type of hip-hop he would create; the subdued, underwater beats of the Bucktown era coupled with raw, tense vocals that oozed feelings of injustice, poverty, and oppression.
The influence is undeniable and is easily heard in J'Demul's last release, 95 95's, an outstanding coming-of-age mixtape exploring girls, music, and dreams. Wholly cohesive but by no means repetitive, there is enough to like without being oversaturated and bogged down by too many tracks. His raps can at times be borderline juvenile, but it's a small complaint, and considering J'Demul's age, it should be expected for someone with so much life and music yet to experience and create. Overall, the mixtape's lasting feeling is one of originality, confidence, and conviction that is ahead of its time and only foreshadows brighter things.
Though some may consider J'Demul a newbie and unexperienced to the ways of the game, he knows enough that putting out consistent, quality is a must, especially in a city such as Saint Louis where too many people are trying to climb on top of each others' shoulders to become famous. Several months removed from 95 95's, and J'Demul is finishing up work on his next mixtape, entitled June, which should be out sometime in the summer.
Videos, photoshoots, and heavy promo are a given in the next few months, so this young North city cat is one on which to keep an eye. If you see any flyers for live performance spots, be sure to attend as well. From first hand experience at the demo several weeks ago, J'Demul puts on a shut-down show, captivating the audience with a oxymoronic vibe that feels simultaneously new and old, as if you're experiencing one of 90s rap great's first shows many moons ago.
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