[Album]: At The Date Of This Writing (Vol.1)
Overall Grade/Rating: 8/10
Subject Matter: A
Replay Value: A+
Fav Songs: Eleven Nine
Least Fav Songs: One Two One Two
Play or Nay: Play
Critique: We first introduced you to hip-hop artist J-Live with his recent single “Eleven Nine.” It was a honest and scathing look at our current political and social climate, following the 2016 presidential election. Many were horrified and depressed with the results, and J’s song tapped into that frustration and went even further. The rapper does the exact same thing with his latest mixtape At The Date Of This Writing (Vol.1).
The album begins with “One Two One Two,” with J saying “peace, peace.” But the song itself does not sound peaceful. It sounds like a man who is on a mission. “One two one two one two / I want you to hear me loudly, clearly.” You hear him loudly and clearly on the next track, “Eleven Nine,” with powerful and explosive lyricism.
The track that follows, “Running Scared,” is letting us know that we shouldn’t be afraid of what’s to come. Rather, we should go ahead and keep doing what we’re doing. We should come together and get to work. And, if you’re paying attention to the many protests going on throughout the nation, that is already happening.
“So whom shall I fear
Stop look and listen but please don’t stare
This is no time for runnin’ scared
This is a time to get prepared
The few that run things are scared
Scared of the many that make the things run
Divide and conquer under the gun
They know they’re done when we know we are one“
This is what J-Live does throughout the mixtape. He simply tells the truth, with some fantastic beats and production behind him. “Old Man Game” has one of the best pieces of production on the project. It’s also a song that is a bit more upbeat than the ones before it, the hook itself is fun and full of energy. “So Close” is the romantic cut on the mixtape, detailing his affection for a woman.
“Toast to black love. Ode to self care.
Through ups and downs remaining right there.
Cheers to drying tears conquering fears mastering ego
Treating old wounds together learning as we go“
“I Tell Myself (Keep Paddling)” is a strong and affirming ending to the project.
Another great thing about this project is that J gave us the instrumentals for each song. And this is only part one, as J will be releasing more in this series of mixtapes. If you’ve never listened to J-Live, now would be a pretty good time to start.