Mar 25, 2016

Review: Boulevard Blues - @TheRealTyJack & @SoULFULLnjn; A Niles P. Joint

The New Jeru Natives are continuing to musically fortify their stronghold on the state’s rap scene.  This time around they combine the talents of two of their best and brightest, singer Ty Jackson & emcee SOULFULL , for an EP.  When I first heard of the collaboration, titled Boulevard Blues, I honestly had no idea on how it would play out.  Throughout hip hop history, there have been a mountain of collabs between rap and R&B, but no one has successfully done it for a full project.  Additionally, this would be my first real introduction to Ty Jackson as I hadn’t covered any of his music for WTM before now.  So the five track project was as good of an opportunity as any to analyze both.

Despite being labeled as such, Blues Brothers (Intro) is a fully fleshed out song, and I’m glad they fleshed it out and didn't cut it short.  Ty Jack successfully fuses singing and rapping.  His voice has the melodic qualities to make this work.  It’s a lightning and thunder combination as SOULFULL finishes the track with his more traditional and trademark gruff bars.  It’s an early sign that shit’s gonna go well on the EP.  Truth has an early 2000s Neo Soul vibe and I didn’t know how much I missed that subgenre until I heard this song.  This joint will take you back to the days of big ass Rocawear belt buckles holding up oversized jeans with a garbage wash, haha.  The two artist’s chemistry becomes more apparent with each song.

Lifestyles continues along the same line while still maintaining it’s originally.  Using a smooth ass combo of guitar and other strings, they make a song that’s both easygoing & substantial lyrically.  It’s also worth noting that while primarily a singer, Ty is also a serviceable rapper.  We get more of a traditional R&B/Soul tone with Rock On.  It’s the closest thing to a slow jam that the EP has and I’m glad that they buried the lede and defied expectations.  The crown jewel of the whole joint is the closer, My Way.  The Franklin, NJ duo talks about their pursuit of careers in music and how their dreams conflicted with those of their parents.  It’s a moving theme set to melancholy music that anyone that’s went against the grain in face of their parents can relate to.  At the end they encapsulate it when Ty Jackson says he “just want to do this shit my way.”  It’s that balance between  the pain of letting your parents down with the resolve of making it on your own terms that’s makes the song a tour de force.

To say that this project surpassed my expectations is an understatement.  I was expecting a bunch of love songs and instead got some deep themes that brought back a nostalgia for an era I kind of forgot about.  More so, I knew SOULFULL was dope but I was very impressed with Ty Jackson’s skill set.  I would've been cool with him singing but he proved that he has the ability to hold his own as a rapper.  All of these things bode well for both artists and the New Jeru Natives as a whole.  They’re going to be hard to stop this year and beyond with all of the talent they have and how they're channelling it into great projects.  Now my only gripe with the project is the fact that I’m a greedy ass music fan and wish it was longer, but they traded quantity for unbridled quality and it made all the difference in the world.

Rating: 4.80 out of 5.

Stream Boulevard Blues on SoundCloud here.

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.

No comments: