Digital Tears: E-mail From Purgatory
label: day by day
production: j-zone, x-ray, mas, looie II, zero point, dj soundmachine.
guest: jihad, agu aka mr. voodoo, monte smith, su-ann ortiz.
year of release: 2004
1. Intro
2. All Y'All
3. Stable
4. Dr. Death
5. The Deal Is Done feat. Monte Smith
6. Go Back
7. Dancin'
8. Enemy At Home feat. Monte Smith
9. Black Helicopter feat. Jihad
10. Straight No Chaser feat. Monte Smith
11. Digital Tears
12. Ying & Yang feat. Agu and Su-Ann Ortiz
13. The Way
14. Taken
15. Love Jones
16. Rotten
17. Voices (The Final Chapter)
18. Happy
19. Superstar J.J. feat. Su-Ann Ortiz
20. Static
21. Outro
Two years after his first solo full-length "The Downfall of Ibliys," Grimm is back on the scene, rejuvenated and sounding better than ever. Dropping the MF prefix and elevating to GM (Grand Master) status, the Monsta Island Czars' kingpin - also known as Superstar Jet Jaguar - triumphantly returns with "Digital Tears: e-mail from purgatory," an epic album that showcases his intelligent, deeply personal lyricism over an assortment of thoroughly knocking beats.
Following a brief intro and cinematic dialogue clips, we get straight into "All Y'All," a haunting track with reflective rhymes set to spooky string loops and interspersed with mournful sax wails. "Stable" uses menacing, distorted guitars and plodding drums to support Grimm's cautionary verses that warn of his unpredictable mental state, while the devilish "Dr. Death" picks up the pace with a faster beat, deep bass drops, and a vintage chorus once flipped on a Kool G Rap collabo.
Spoken word artist Monte Smith appears on three tracks, (all produced by DJ Soundmachine), contributing insightful commentary aimed at uplifting the ignorant. "The Deal Is Done" is a standout, spliced with electro-tinged beats and a Bob Marley vocal sample, while "Enemy At Home" references the Philadelphia MOVE bombing, Waco, and the government's involvement in the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King. Grimm continues this theme on "Black Helicopter" exploring our country's notoriously shady, big brother mentality, discussing covert surveillance operations, cell phone taps, and contaminated food supplies, while incorporating a nice Slick Rick snippet, jumpy snare hits, and chopper sound effects.
Grimm's soft side shines bright on the album's two romance raps, either one of which could easily be a crossover hit. "Ying & Yang" features a strong verse from Agu (i.e. Mr. Voodoo from mid-nineties underground faves Natural Elements), and smooth vocalism from Su-Ann Ortiz. Mas hooks the beat up properly, a sweet joint loaded with soft horn swoops and catchy pianos. "Love Jones" is equally dope, with heartfelt lyrics, minimalist snare hits, and soulful crooning courtesy of Jihad. It ends with a crazy outro flexing a switched-up cadence, shimmering chimes, and birds singing.
Throughout the album, the production stays rock solid while remaining extremely diverse. J-Zone drops two excellent, typically bugged-out beats on "Dancin'," which compares the music game to the drug game and flips an old Ice Cube clip, and "Taken," a rugged jam that calls out the Hip Hop Task Force among others. X-Ray throws down a very hype, drum-heavy track for "The Way," while Looie II and Zero Point concoct several bangers each. The record finishes up strong with the hard-hitting, criminally minded "Rotten," the multiple personality anthem "Voices (The Final Chapter)," and "Static," built on dusty vinyl pops, brash horn blasts, and eerie guitar riffs.
Unlike so many emcees today, Grimm is not afraid to take risks, both lyrically and musically. Although his lawless past is well documented, he never brags about his trife life experiences, instead learning from them and urging the next generation not to make the same mistakes. Simultaneously autobiographical and inspirational, "Digital Tears" is an undeniably dope album, and further proof that Jet Jaguar really is a Superstar.
review: brolin winning
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