Sep 10, 2015

Review: GEMS from the Cubicle - @LyricJones & Dirty Diggs; A Niles P. Joint

Lyric Jones came into the rap game with a triple threat skill set inasmuch as she could rap, sing, and play the drums. 

The Boston-born wunderkind did not rest on her laurels as she independently released and subsequently honed her skills on her first 2 projects (2012’s Jones St. LP and last year’s Love’s Trail Mix EP).  She has since went on tour with Cali Agents and recently released her latest EP GEMS from the Cubicle. Linking up with production duo DirtyDiggs has paid dividends for Jones as they produced the entire project and seemingly brought out a refined aggressiveness in her flow.
The entire EP is accented with clips from the 1999 cult classic film Office Space, hence the title. It’s a creative and fun way to fuse the tracks together. The tone is set on So Glad which got a video write up from me awhile back. It not only holds replay value but seemed to get better over time. Unflattered has Jones showing teeth and checking anybody that doesn’t come correct when stepping to her. I loved the confidence and assertiveness she displays in her flow and it was juxtaposed over a soulful sampled beat. This motif is sustained through the next song as Lyric Jones teams up with Rogue Venom for Stay Mad. They trade some tough verses over a whirlwind of strings. While I wasn’t familiar with the guest, the vibe and quality reminded me of a Apani B. Fly/Jean Grae collaboration of yesteryear.
Conference Room has a more majestic and grand instrumental and features Tristate and underground veteran Planet Asia. All three emcees get off pretty well but Jones has one of the best lines when she says “Peace to the comparisons but I hold my ground.” Tell Me ventures into smoother territory while still fitting into the album’s general approach. Guest rapper Rozewood actually steals the show on this one as his flow cruises over the beat. We then hear the last of the movie quotes, and probably the most inspiring. Double Life ventures into a velvety flow even more than the penultimate track. Lyric Jones speaks on the trials and tribulations of having one foot in the rap game and one foot in the 9 to 5 rat race. Not many people talk about having a job while simultaneously chasing their music dreams, so her honesty is appreciated. Daniel “SkyHigh” McLain provides a soulful chorus to complement the smooth elements of the beat.

GEMS from the Cubicle further establishes Lyric Jones as one of the most promising emcees on the underground. She ostensibly keeps working at her craft and it shows as she constantly improves from one project to the next. With this one, she is able to show a versatile range of skills on only six tracks. Despite the short running time and diverse, the album still flows quite nicely. Even though it’s not strictly a concept album, using a fan favorite movie that almost everyone knows to tie everything together thematically was a good choice. I would have liked to hear some more solo material on such a truncated project. If this was an LP this isn't an issue, and while all of the guest emcees’ verses were favorable, squeezing four guest rappers on six tracks limits our ability to get to know more about Jones. At any cost, this is a strong effort from Jones and already has proven to have replay value.  You can’t teach the charisma in her words and zeal she has for sharpening her already impressive skills. GEMS from the Cubicle implicates that we haven't heard the last or best of Lyric Jones.  Stay tuned.


Rating: 4.35 out of 5.



Niles Cavanaugh
Niles Cavanaugh

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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