Reviewed by Julian Wilson

Jam’g/Just (Because)

There can never be a shortage of rappers, and unfortunately many of them are awful. Ever since hip-hop became Big Business, everybody’s aunt and brother thinks they can slip on the gold chains and become the next MTV sensation. Once in a while, though, you will encounter an artist such as Jam’g who actually has an artistic vision clearly his own.

I’m hesitant to peg this into the “alternative rap” category because that would imply the music here is quirky and somewhat uncommercial. Nevertheless, much of Just (Because) wouldn’t be served on your hip-hop menu. For example, the deceptively titled “Let’s Party Tonight” attacks the misogyny often found in rap lyrics and in the scene as well. Imagine those video-vixen sisters getting together and coming up with a girl-power rant, letting the boys know that they aren’t just flesh but souls with a heart who ache for emotional fulfillment. Pretty brave stuff coming from a male hip-hop artist, if you ask me.

Jam’g combines messages of morality with the prequisite party tunes. “Life in San Quentin” shows the other side of crime, the price one pays for being caught doing the stupid shit that sadly kids get involved in. But there’s no preachiness here. The lyrics give you a dose of reality, showing that there’s more to hip-hop than guns, gold, and girls.