Jan 27, 2015

Editorial: Rugged But Smooth - @JoeCollege010 EP Review

Let me take you back a couple of months. It's a routine stop to Wells Fargo to collect some money owed to me from a friend. Enter Joe College. "Word on the street is you got a new tape, I know you got that Rugged But Smooth on you and I want a copy." "Yeah, it's in the whip," he replied "Only gonna cost you 5 beans."

A feature of an In My Ears segment, Joe College dropped an EP for the masses. At one point you could only cop physical copies which I personally think is a lost art in the music industry where everything is easily obtained online. Rugged But Smooth is exactly what the title says. I understand that's an oxymoron but after you listen you'll understand. In the past Joe College tends to bridge the gap between old and new school hip-hop. You can tell he's been heavily influenced by Nas and other classic hip-hop acts. Let's get to it.

The tape opens up with Make Money, Take Money which just so happens to be a remake of the classic Nas NY State of Mind instrumental. When you get on tracks with esteem like that you gotta come correct. Joe College pulls through with finesse. Track one actually has a visual which dropped not too long ago which you can peep here. Next up is 100 featuring Lu Jerz. Fun track, College is reminding you fools where your place is and to always, keep it a hunna. Track three, Swing My Way, is my favorite track on the project. It's kinda the turning point of Rugged but Smooth as it changes the mood. I feel like you can play this song for shawty in ya house, apartment, dorm whatever. He tells a story of how he tries to turn out a lesbian playing games saying she's celibate. Very Punny throughout, "You had your colors on i see you f*ck with that greek sh*t. That was my que dawg I couldn't come with no weak sh*t [C(q)ues barking*]. The fourth track, Really reminds me off 100 as far as the message goes. It's just a little harder and back on the rugged side of the EP. 9:46 was actually a single released almost a year ago. As a stand alone track it was nice but transitioned fluidly with the rest of the EP. Blown Away is the next track. I said what I had to say when the video was posted awhile back. You can check that by clicking the link. Rugged but Smooth closes out with What We Do. Perhaps the best produced track on the EP and also another one released beforehand. He takes a break in the track and sings the classic Alicia Meyers' jam Thank You over the Scarecrow produced instrumental. Maybe not the best vocalist but he does it justice as it goes with the track. Something smooth you can listen to at the cookout with old heads too. At least that's what it looked like in the video which you can peep below.

I said in the beginning Rugged but Smooth was exactly what the title suggests. The seven tracks go back and forth over this theme. Some old stuff but generally new material from the Neptune emcee. If WTM could compile a list of best unsigned projects of last year this would have made the top five without question. I give the EP 4.4 of 5 stars on the Ramsey Rating Scale. Do yourself a solid and put this tape in your car and Keep Listening my friends.

Jonathan C. Ramsey
Jonathan C. Ramsey

Multimedia Journalist, Founder and Chief Editor of WTM Host of A-Side B-Side Podcast and more. I like to talk about stuff and write it down. Sometimes to a microphone. Either way, I need you to feel this.

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