By Dorany Pineda
J-Zone’s album, “Fish-n-Grits” hits its listeners like a sucker punch of humor and sarcasm with weirdly unconventional beats not uncommon in his music.
The 15-track hip-hop album is ferocious and draws influences from many corners of music, including 1960’s funk instrumentals to the erratic sounds of James Brown to Kool and the Gang.
His lyrics are highly self-aware, executed with a droll trash-talk style about his frustrations and criticisms of the music industry, gentrification, nostalgia and political correctness.
Some of the notable instrumental tracks are “Stick Up” and “Seoul Power,” the first of which is an enchantingly funky jam with dynamic drum beats and worthy of lots of head bobbing.
“Seoul Power” navigates the listener from a twangy first two minutes through the music of South Korea to a percussive jam-out, complete with energetic drums and a synthesizer.
But “Fish-n-Grits” is as much vocals as it is instrumentals. In “Go Back to Selling Weed,” instead of mocking those who rap and take their art seriously, J-Zone raps critically about the wannabees selling CD’s on the streets of New York. He tells them in his lyrics to leave music alone, to stop debasing it, to go back to a life of crime and “selling weed.” It is an intentionally ludicrous remark, but one that strongly captures his aversion for the artist impersonators.
J-Zone is a writer, producer, rapper and self-proclaimed “jack of all trades, master of zero” from New York City. He gave up on rap after he failed to find commercial success and went on to write a book about it, but came back in 2013 with a new perspective and a newfound skill on the drums.
Hip hop fans will be taken on a trippy, sonic and mind-bending trip with J-Zone’s “Fish-n-Grits.”